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8 Breathtaking Photographs That Won the Famed World Press Photo Contest

On February 15, winners of the highly-acclaimed World Press Photo competition were announced. With 103,481 images from 5,666 photographers hailing from 124 countries entered in the competition, Paul Hansen of the Swedish daily, Dagens Nyheter, took home the prize for Photo of the Year.

Hansen's photo captured a group of men carrying two dead children through the streets after their home was destroyed by an Israeli missile strike.

The winners of the 56th World Press Photo competition were judged at the headquarters of World Press Photo in Amsterdam. In categories ranging from sports and daily life to contemporary and portraits, prizes were handed out to the year's best images. 

Below, are Hansen's pictures along with other winners from the competition. More information, along with photos of every winner, can be found at www.worldpressphoto.org.

1. Paul Hansen, Sweden, Dagens Nyheter, World Press Photo of the Year 2012

November 20 2012, Gaza City, Palestinian Territories

Two-year-old Suhaib Hijazi and his older brother Muhammad were killed when their house was destroyed by an Israeli missile strike. Their father, Fouad, was also killed and their mother was put in intensive care. Fouad’s brothers carry his children to the mosque for the burial ceremony as his body is carried behind on a stretcher.

2. Daniel Berehulak, Australia, Getty Images, Japan After the Wave, 3rd Prize General News Stories

07 March 2012, Rikuzentakata, Japan

Pine trees uprooted during the tsunami lay strewn over the beach.
One year later, areas of Japan most impacted by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that left 15,848 dead and 3,305 missing, continue to struggle. Thousands of people remain living in temporary dwellings. The government faces an uphill battle with the need to dispose of rubble as it works to rebuild economies and livelihoods.

3. Wei Seng Chen, Malaysia, Pacu Jawi Bull Race, Indonesia, 1st Prize Sports - Sports Action Single

12 February 2012, Batu Sangkar, West Sumatra, Indonesia

A jockey, his feet stepped into a harness strapped to the bulls and clutching their tails, shows relief and joy at the end of a dangerous run across rice fields. The Pacu Jawi (bull race) is a popular competition at the end of harvest season keenly contested between villages. 

4. Fabio Bucciarelli, Italy, Agence France-Presse, 2nd Prize Spot News Single

10 October 2012, Aleppo, Syria

A Free Syrian Army fighter takes up a position during clashes against government forces in the Sulemain Halabi district.

5. Christian Ziegler, Germany, Southern Cassowary, Australia, 1st Prize Nature Single

16 November 2012, Black Mountain Road, Australia

The endangered Southern Cassowary feeds on the fruit of the Blue Quandang tree. Cassowaries are a keystone species in northern Australian rainforests because of their ability to carry so many big seeds such long distances.

6. Sergei Ilnitsky, Russia, European Pressphoto Agency, The Golden Touch - Fencing at the Olympics, 2nd Prize Sports - Sports Action Stories

31 July 2012, London, UK

Alaaeldin Abouelkassem of Egypt (top) in action against Peter Joppich of Germany during their Men's Foil Individual Round 16 match.
Years of training, thousands of battles, and hundreds of victories prepared fencing competitors for the opportunity to stand on the piste at the 2012 London Olympic Games to fight for gold. 

7. Ilona Szwarc, Poland, Redux Pictures, Kayla, Boston, USA, 3rd Prize People - Observed Portraits Single

19 February 2012, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

“American Girl” is a popular line of dolls that can be customized to look exactly like their owners. Kayla poses with her lookalike doll in front of a portrait of her ancestors.

8. Micah Albert, USA, Redux Images for Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, 1st Prize Contemporary Issues Single

03 April 2012, Nairobi, Kenya

Pausing in the rain, a woman working as a trash picker at the 30-acre dump, which literally spills into households of one million people living in nearby slums, wishes she had more time to look at the books she comes across. She even likes the industrial parts catalogs. “It gives me something else to do in the day besides picking [trash],” she said. 

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