Fiery Venezuela image among world photo award nominations

A searing picture of a Venezuelan protester who caught fire during clashes with riot police has won AFP photographer Ronaldo Schemidt that a nomination for the World Press Photo of the Year award.

The film by the Mexico-based photographer for Agence France-Presse is among six pictures taken by five photographers nominated to receive its prestigious yearly prize, the World Press Photo Foundation in Amsterdam revealed Wednesday.

The winner will be declared on April 12, also recognise the photographer “whose visual imagination and skills made a film that captures or represents an event or issue of great importance in the previous season”, it said.

The four other finalists include Patrick Brown of Panos Pictures, for his shocking captured of the bodies of drowned Rohingya refugees; Adam Ferguson of those New York Times using a sombre veiled portrait of one of the Boko Haram sufferers and Reuters photographer Toby Melville, with his picture of a passerby reassuring an injured woman after the Westminster Bridge assault in London.

Figuring out the nominees is Ivor Prickett, also by Panos Pictures, that has two of his shots shot from the Iraqi town of Mosul in the running for the esteemed name.

“The finest visual journalism isn’t of something, it’s about something. It should matter to individuals to whom it talks,” said Lars Boering, managing director of the World Press Photo Foundation.

Schemidt, 46, is famous, though he abandoned the country 18 decades ago, and advised AFP acquiring such “fame is important to me personally”.

“It isn’t important whether my photos remain in my computer or get published globally, but that (nomination) means folks will see what’s happening” in Venezuela.

Some 42 photographers from 22 states are nominated in each of the eight classes.

The winner of the World Press Photo of the Year will receive $10,000 in cash and a collection of Canon camera gear.

A total of 4,548 photographers from 125 countries filed 73,044 pictures, which have been judged by a panel chaired by Magdalena Herrera, director of photography for Geo France.

Last year’s award went to Associated Press photographer Burhan Ozbilici, for his shocking picture of a Turkish policeman who assassinated the Russian ambassador at the introduction of the Ankara exhibition.

But the conclusion set off a controversy, since it caught the specific minute of a murder.

“It was a very, very tough choice, but ultimately we felt the film of the year was an volatile picture that actually talked to the hatred of those days,” recognized 2017 jury associate Mary Calvert.