World Press Photo of the Year Speaks to the Unrest in Venezuela

Agence France-Presse photographer, Ronald Schemidt, has taken home the top prize at the 61st annual World Press Photo Contest for his capture of a Venezuelan protestor – clad in a gas mask – who is almost completely engulfed in flames after his motorcycle exploded during a clash between supporters and detractors of President Nicolás Maduro in Caracas.

Although he was severely burned, the protestor, José Víctor Salazar Balza, managed to survive his injuries.

Magdalena Herrera, director of photography Geo France and chair of the jury, said of the winning photo entitled “Venezuela Crisis,” “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…”

Jury member Whitney C. Johnson, deputy director of photography National Geographic, also added, “It’s quite symbolic, actually. The man, he has a mask on his face. He’s come to sort of represent not just himself and himself on fire, but sort of this idea of Venezuela burning.”

Head here to see a list of all of the other winners and their photographs.

For more photography, read about the world’s most expensive Leica camera.

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