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Moonlit migrant image wins World Press Photo award

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AAA Feb. 14, 2014 8:04 AM ET
Moonlit migrant image wins World Press Photo award
AP

In this photo provided on Friday Feb. 14, 2014 by World Press Photo, the World Press Photo of the Year 2013 by John Stanmeyer, USA, VII for National Geographic, shows African migrants on the shore of Djibouti city at night, raising their phones in an attempt to capture an inexpensive signal from neighboring Somalia in Djibouti City, Djibouti, Feb. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/John Stanmeyer, VII for National Geographic) NO SALES NO ARCHIVE

In this photo provided on Friday Feb. 14, 2014 by World Press Photo, the World Press Photo of the Year 2013 by John Stanmeyer, USA, VII for National Geographic, shows African migrants on the shore of Djibouti city at night, raising their phones in an attempt to capture an inexpensive signal from neighboring Somalia in Djibouti City, Djibouti, Feb. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/John Stanmeyer, VII for National Geographic) NO SALES NO ARCHIVE

In this photo provided on Friday Feb. 14, 2014 by World Press Photo, the 1st prize in the Spot News Stories category of the 2014 World Press Photo Contest by Goran Tomasevic, Serbia, Reuters, shows Syrian rebel fighters take cover amid flying debris and shrapnel after being hit by a tank shell fired towards them by the Syrian Army in the Ain Tarma neighborhood of Damascus, Syria, Jan. 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Goran Tomasevic, Reuters) NO SALES NO ARCHIVE

In this photo provided on Friday Feb. 14, 2014 by World Press Photo, the 2nd prize in the Spot News Stories category of the 2014 World Press Photo Contest by Tyler Hicks, USA, The New York Times, shows a woman and children hiding after gunmen had opened fire in the Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Sept. 21, 2013. They escaped unharmed. At least 39 people were killed in one of the worst terrorist attacks in Kenya’s history. (AP Photo/Tyler Hicks, The New York Times) NO SALES NO ARCHIVE

In this photo provided on Friday Feb. 14, 2014 by World Press Photo, the 1st prize in the Spot News Single category of the 2014 World Press Photo Contest by Phillipe Lopez, France, Agence France-Presse, shows survivors of typhoon Haiyan march during a religious procession in Tolosa, on the eastern island of Leyte, Philippines, Nov. 18, 2013. One of the strongest cyclones ever recorded, Haiyan left 8,000 people dead and missing and more than four million homeless after it hit the central Philippines. (AP Photo/Phillipe Lopez, AFP) NO SALES NO ARCHIVE

In this photo provided on Friday, Feb. 14, 2014 by World Press Photo, the 2nd prize in the General News Stories category of the 2014 World Press Photo Contest by William Daniels, France, Panos Pictures for Time, demonstrators gather on a street in Bangui, Central African Republic, Nov. 17, 2013, to call for the resignation of interim President Michel Djotodia following the murder of Judge Modeste Martineau Bria by members of Seleka. (AP Photo/William Daniels, Panos Pictures for Time) NO SALES NO ARCHIVE

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AMSTERDAM (AP) — American photographer John Stanmeyer won the World Press Photo of the Year award for 2013 on Friday with a moonlit shot of African migrants in Djibouti holding their cellphones to the sky, seeking a better reception signal.

The 19-person jury chose 53 winning photographers in 18 categories out of nearly 100,000 submissions from around the globe for one of photojournalism’s most prestigious awards.

The Associated Press won two awards, including first place in single-shot “Observed Portraits” for Markus Schreiber’s picture of a disappointed woman in Pretoria, South Africa who had just learned she would not be able to view Nelson Mandela’s casket.

Stanmeyer, of the VII photo agency, was working for National Geographic. The photo has a mysterious, eerie quality as the phones held by the men in the picture glow the same color as the moon. The signal from neighboring Somalia is cheaper, and they are hoping to send and receive messages from relatives abroad.

Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa, is a common stopping point for migrants attempting to reach Europe or the Middle East.

One jury member, Jillian Edelstein, said the photo raised issues of “technology, globalization, migration, poverty, desperation, alienation, (and) humanity.” Another, Susan Linfield, said it stood out for its humantic portrayal of migrants. “So many pictures of migrants show them as bedraggled and pathetic.but this photo is not so much romantic, as dignified,” she said.

Among other standouts were a series by photographer Goran Tomasevic of Reuters of a rebel attack on a government checkpoint in Damascus, Syria on Jan. 30 that won first place in the “Spot News Stories” category. One black-and-white image captures the instant after a shell has landed and a fleeing man is engulfed by dust and rubble.

Associated Press

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