The World Press Photo Foundation has revealed the nominees for its 2021 Photo Contest, showcasing some of the most powerful photographs taken in 2020.
The nominees include 45 photographers from 28 countries, selected from almost 75,000 images, with the contest to announce its winners on April 15th.
The contenders for Photo of the Year capture humanity during an unprecedented year that witnessed the Covid-19 pandemic, global social justice protests, war and the climate crisis.
One shows a man and woman disagreeing over the removal of the Emancipation Memorial in Washington DC during the summer — which shows a Black man kneeling at the feel of Abraham Lincoln as he holds the proclamation granting freedom to slaves — as Black Lives Matter protesters toppled controversial statues around the world.
Other moments captured during the seismic year include a family forced to leave their home behind amid a conflict reignited between Azerbaijan and Armenia after a 30-year lull, and the first hug an 85-year-old received in five months amid the pandemic.
Other nominees for the top spot address the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ people in Russia, Kenya’s worst infestation of desert locusts in 70 years and an explosion that shook Lebanon’s capital Beirut in August.
More photos nominated in the general news and stories categories show the heart-rending human impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
One image shows the body of a coronavirus victim wound in infectious-waste plastic, while others capture loved ones separated as Switzerland closed its borders for the first time since the Second World War.
In the Environment category, the climate crisis is spotlighted as nominees capture water shortages in regions of Bangladesh, the destruction of a lush mountainside for jade mining in Myanmar, and sea creatures encountering face mask litter in California.