The 2018 Photo Contest drew entries from around the world: 4,548 photographers from 125 countries submitted 73,044 images. The jury gave prizes in eight categories to 42 photographers from 22 countries: Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, USA and Venezuela. This year, for the first, time, the jury chose six nominees for the World Press Photo of the Year – the winner was announced on 12 April at our Awards Show in Amsterdam.

The winner of the World Press Photo of the Year 2018 is Ronaldo Schemidt. Its picture–which also won first prize in the Spot News Stories category–shows José Víctor Salazar Balza when catches fire amid violent clashes with riot police during a protest against President Nicolás Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela. President Maduro had announced plans to revise Venezuela’s democratic system by forming a constituent assembly to replace the opposition-led National Assembly, in effect consolidating legislative powers for himself. Opposition leaders called for mass protests to demand early presidential elections. Clashes between protesters and the Venezuelan national guard broke out on 3 May, with protesters (many of whom wore hoods, masks or gas masks) lighting fires and hurling stones. Salazar was set alight when the gas tank of a motorbike exploded. He survived the incident with first- and second-degree burns.

Magdalena Herrera, director of photography Geo France and chair of the jury, describes the winning photograph: “It’s a classical photo, but it has an instantaneous energy and dynamic. The colours, the movement, and it’s very well composed, it has strength. I got an instantaneous emotion”.

The Italian winners are: Giulio di Sturco with More Than a Woman, second prize singles – Contemporary IssuesLuca Locatelli with Hunger Solutions, second prize stories-EnvironmentAlessio Mamo with Manal, War Portraits, second prize singles – PeopleFrancesco Pistilli with Lives In Limbo, third prize stories General News-stories and Fausto Podavini with Omo Change, second prize stories Long-Term Projects.