AP photographer wins top prize in World Press Photo contest
A harrowing image from Mariupol, Ukraine, of emergency workers carrying an injured pregnant woman out of a shelled maternity hospital on a stretcher has earned Associated Press photojournalist Evgeniy Maloletka the prestigious 2023 World Press Photo of the Year award.
Maloletka’s photograph, which was among a collection of his images from Mariupol that earned the regional European World Press Photo stories award, illustrated the horrors of the early days of Russia’s invasion of the Ukrainian port city. It showed Iryna Kalinina, badly injured, being carried through the wreckage of the hospital. Neither Kalinina nor her baby survived.
The distinguished World Press Photo competition is judged by a jury of internationally recognized photography professionals. The winners were announced Thursday in Amsterdam.
Describing Maloletka’s winning photo, which the jurors selected unanimously, global jury chair Bret Lewis said: “With the vote being decided on the first anniversary of the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the jury mentioned the power of the image and the story behind it, as well as the atrocities it shows. The death of both the pregnant woman and her child summarized so much of the war, as well as the possible intent of Russia. As one juror put it: ‘It’s like they are trying to kill the future of Ukraine.’”
Maloletka’s pictures of the maternity hospital bombing appeared on newspaper front pages worldwide at the time.
The reporting from Mariupol by Maloletka and his AP colleagues who remained inside the besieged city for nearly three weeks has garnered more than a dozen international journalism awards, including the Visa d’or News Award, the Prix Bayeux Calvados-Normandie and the George Polk Award for War Reporting. Their footage is the basis of the AP-Frontline documentary “20 Days in Mariupol,” which earned the Sundance Film Festival’s World Cinema Documentary Competition Audience Award.
“Evgeniy Maloletka captured one of the most defining images of the Russia-Ukraine war amid incredibly challenging circumstances. Without his unflinching courage, little would be known of one of Russia’s most brutal attacks,” said AP Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Julie Pace. “We are enormously proud of him.”
AP Director of Photography J. David Ake added: “It’s not often that a single image becomes seared into the world’s collective memory. Evgeniy Maloletka lived up to the highest standards of photojournalism by capturing the ‘decisive moment,’ while upholding the tradition of AP journalists worldwide to shine a light on what would have otherwise remained unseen.”
This is AP’s eighth World Press Photo of the Year award. Other photographers honored with 2023 prizes include:
- Maya Levin, winner, Asia Singles, for “Shireen Abu Akleh’s Funeral.”
- Emilio Morenatti, honorable mention, Europe Stories, for “War Wounds.”
Winners will be recognized at an awards ceremony in Amsterdam on May 12. Full details about the World Press Photo contest are available here.