This haunting photo of refugees crossing a barbed wire fence just won the World Press Photo contest


Hundreds of thousands of people arrived in Europe last year, many by boat, fleeing turbulent conditions in their home countries. The refugee crisis has seen the biggest global movement of people since World War II. This year, the World Press Photo committee chose a photograph that they felt told that story especially poignantly.

The award winning photo, taken by Australian photographer Warren Richardson in August last year, captures a moment at the border between Serbia and Hungary where a father hands his child through a barbed wire fence under the cover of darkness. The photo speaks to the harsh conditions many refugees face particularly at borders in the Balkans, and the hope for a better future that compels so many to undertake the dangerous journey.

“I camped with the refugees for five days on the border. A group of about 200 people arrived, and they moved under the trees along the fence line. They sent women and children, then fathers and elderly men first. I must have been with this crew for about five hours and we played cat and mouse with the police the whole night,” said Richardson in a statement. “I was exhausted by the time I took the picture. It was around three o’clock in the morning and you can’t use a flash while the police are trying to find these people, because I would just give them away. So I had to use the moonlight alone.”

Richardson’s work beat out 82,950 other photos which were submitted for this year’s competition. The winning photographs in every category are online and will tour the world in an exhibition this year.

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