Best pictures: Irish image among winners of World Press Photo awards

Best Pictures: Irish Image Among Winners Of World Press Photo Awards
Stephen McCarthy's 'Home Training' earned him the second prize in the sports singles category. The image shows Pat Naughton (87) trains at his home in Nenagh, Co Tipperary, during the Covid-19 pandemic. Image: Stephen McCarthy, Sportsfile
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Muireann Duffy

The winners of the 2021 World Press Photo competition have been announced, including a second place award for an entry by Sportsfile's Stephen McCarthy.

The winning images come from all parts of the world, with many using Covid-19, natural disasters and social unrest as their subject.


McCarthy's image captures Masters athlete Pat Naughton training in his home in Co Tipperary during Ireland's first national lockdown last year.


This is McCarthy's second nod from the World Press Photo Foundation, having previously placed second in the same category for his image 'Steaming Scrum', taken during a rugby match between the All Black and the British and Irish Lions.

The Irish entry was beaten by only that of Australian photographer Adam Pretty, showing a man log pile bouldering.

The World Press Photo of the Year award went to Denmark's Mads Nissen for his entry 'The First Embrace', while Antonio Faccilongo's 'Habibi' won World Press Photo Story of the Year.

'The First Embrace': 85-year-old Rosa Luzia Lunardi is embraced by nurse Adriana Silva da Costa Souza. Photo by Mads Nissen, Denmark

Seven topics - contemporary issues, the environment, general news, nature, portraits, sports, and spot news - are further broken down into categories for single images and stories, while three collections are also recognised in the long term project category.

The winner of the contemporary issues singles category was an image of a woman fishing with her son in Yemen. Nahed, who has six daughters and three sons, wakes at 3am each morning to catch food for her children as ongoing conflict impacts their country.

A mother of nine children fishes with her son in Yemen. Photo by Pablo Tosco, Argentina

A number of entries showed the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic across the world.


Some images showed people separated by barriers, such as Roland Schmid's 'Cross-Border Love' which came second in the general news stories category, or the now familiar site of face masks and Perspex screens, like that of Henrik Hansson's 'Focus of Bridge' entry.

However, Iván Macias of Mexico claimed second place in the portraits singles category with his entry 'Covid-19 First Responder'.

The image shows a woman with impressions on her face, left there by personal protective equipment.

Photo by Iván Macias, Mexico

In the environment singles category, Ralph Pace from the United States claimed the top prize with his underwater photograph.

His entry, 'California Sea Lion Plays with Mask', shows a face mask floating in the green-tinged water, piquing the interest of a passing sea lion.

A California sea lion playing with a KN95 mask in Monterey, California.

Among the winners in the stories categories were images showing key moments in 2020, including John Minchillo's 'Minneapolis Unrest: The George Floyd Aftermath', which claimed third prize in the spot news category, while Lorenzo Tugnoli's first place entry in the same category shows the fallout of the explosion in Beirut last August which killed over 200 people.

Over 74,470 entries from 4,315 photographers were considered for this year's awards, with the 45 winners, 35 of whom are first time recipients, coming from 28 countries.

Each year, the winning images are exhibited in a worldwide tour, which is due to go ahead despite ongoing Covid-19 restrictions.

The winning images from all categories can be seen on the World Press Photo website.

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