Samuel Aranda: Arab Spring Shot Wins Photo of the Year
An amazing, moving, deep photo. (via. Huffington-Post)
By TOBY STERLING, Associated Press
AMSTERDAM — Spanish photographer Samuel Aranda won the 2011 World Press Photo of the Year award Friday for an image of a veiled woman holding a wounded relative in her arms after a demonstration in Yemen.
Jurors said Aranda’s photo, taken for The New York Times, encapsulated many facets of the uprisings across the Middle East known as the Arab Spring, one of the major news events of the year.
The photo was taken Oct. 15 in a mosque in Sanaa, Yemen, that was being used as field hospital after demonstrators protesting the rule of Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh clashed with government forces.
“The winning photo shows a poignant, compassionate moment, the human consequence of an enormous event, an event that is still going on,” said chairman Aidan Sullivan. “We might never know who this woman is, cradling an injured relative, but together they become a living image of the courage of ordinary people that helped create an important chapter in the history of the Middle East.”
The woman is almost completely concealed under black robes as she clasps her relative, a thin man whose torso is bare, grimacing in pain.
Sullivan said Aranda thought the man might have been the woman’s husband, but he was not sure. He said the image has religious “almost Biblical” overtones and noted its resemblance in composition to Michelangelo’s Pieta – but in a Muslim setting.
“It stands for Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, for all that happened in the Arab Spring,” said juror Koyo Kouoh. “But it shows a private, intimate side of what went on, and it shows the role that women played, not only as caregivers but as active people in the movement.”