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"Dignified" African migrants picture claims top photo prize - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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John Stanmeyer won the World Press Photo of the Year 2013 contest with this picture of African migrants on the shore of Djibouti city at night, taken on February 26, 2013. (REUTERS/John Stanmeyer/World Press Photo Handout via Reuters)

John Stanmeyer won the World Press Photo of the Year 2013 contest with this picture of African migrants on the shore of Djibouti city at night, taken on February 26, 2013. (REUTERS/John Stanmeyer/World Press Photo Handout via Reuters)

Amsterdam, Reuters—A picture of African migrants standing on the shore of Djibouti City at night, their glimmering phones held aloft to catch a weak signal, won the World Press Photo prize on Friday for American photographer John Stanmeyer of the VII Photo Agency.

The silhouetted figures facing seawards are straining to pick up a cheaper mobile signal from neighboring Somalia, hoping to establish a tenuous link with relatives abroad.

“So many pictures of migrants show them as bedraggled and pathetic . . . but this photo is not so much romantic, as dignified,” said jury member Susan Linfield.

Djibouti is a common stop-off point for migrants heading from nearby countries like Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea in search of a better life in Europe and the Middle East.

“It opens up discussions about technology, globalization, migration, poverty, desperation, alienation, humanity,” said jury member Jillian Edelstein of the photo, which was commissioned by National Geographic magazine.

Reuters photographer Goran Tomasevic, from Serbia, won first prize in the spot news stories category for a dramatic narrative series from Syria depicting a rebel attack on a government checkpoint.

France’s Phillipe Lopez of Agence France-Presse won the spot news singles category with a photograph of typhoon survivors in Tolosa, the Philippines, carrying religious iconography in front of a field of rubble.

Getty’s Brent Stirton, a South African, topped the category for single staged portraits with a picture of five blind albino boys from West Bengal, India. Dressed in matching pink shirts and blue trousers, they appear to gaze stiffly at the camera.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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