AFP Yasuyoshi Chiba Wins World Press Photo of the Year
Posted on 2020 Apr,16

AFP photographer Yasuyoshi Chiba has won the top prize at the World Press Photo Awards 2020, which also gave awards to three other photojournalists from the Agency this year.  

Yasuyoshi Chiba’s “Straight Voice”, voted best photo of the year by the World Press Photo jury, shows a man illuminated by the light of mobile phones, reciting a poem in the middle of a group of protesters demanding a civilian regime in Khartoum, in Sudan. The photo also won first place in the “General News – Singles” category.

"This is the most prestigious award among professional photojournalists, so I'm very happy to be part of their historical archive. I am also very happy to support the Sudanese people, who are still struggling to get a true democracy." says Yasuyoshi Chiba.

"At first I wondered how I could take the picture. Then I realised people were using their mobile phones. That's what gave this picture a more cinematic atmosphere."

The picture "showed that the people still had this passion inside and I felt part of it. I saw how the strong will of the people was there and that it could not be put out by violence."

"I was happy to have been there as it was a complete stroke of luck. This is the result of our team's work. That's a really tough place to work in. Without the the AFP bureau's assistance this would not have happened. We work together, always," he added.

Based in Nairobi, Japanese native Yasuyoshi Chiba studied photography and holography in Tokyo. He began his career at the Asahi Shibum daily, before becoming a freelance photographer after moving to Kenya in 2007, where he worked for AFP during the post-election violence in the country. In 2011, he was hired by AFP and relocated to São Paulo, and then Rio in 2013. He has been posted in Nairobi since 2016.

“AFP is delighted to have won this prestigious award again. Chiba's remarkable work is a testament to his talent, courage, hard work and professionalism. The award shows AFP's consistent commitment to reporting stories from challenging locations such as Sudan and is a tribute to our unrivalled network of photographers in Africa. We are also very proud the jury has chosen to recognise the excellence of our storytelling of the Hong Kong unrest, as well as our sports and environment coverage”, says Phil Chatwynd, AFP Global News Director.

“We are delighted at this award for Chiba. This prize is all the more significant because it is the second “World Press Photo of the Year” won by AFP in three years, after Ronaldo Schemidt’s victory in 2018 for his photo of a protester transformed into a human torch during clashes with riot police in Venezuela”, says Marielle Eudes, Global Photo Director at AFP. “I would like to congratulate Chiba – who always has a very human approach in his work — as well as our three other winning photographers this year. These are some terrific prizes which reward an approach rooted in working on the ground, and patience, and which highlight the quality of the work carried out by all of our photographers around the world”, she added.

Based in Beijing, Nicolas Asfouri was awarded first place in the “General News – Stories” category for his photo series “Hong Kong Unrest”, taken during the pro-democracy protests in the former British colony. His photos were also nominated in a new category introduced this year:  “World Press Photo Story of the Year”. His work in Hong Kong has already been rewarded this year with the Excellence Award in the “General News” category of the Pictures of the Year 2020.

Sean Davey’s photo “Bushfire Evacuation Center”, capturing a young girl wearing a mask while playing with her friends at a shelter in Australia threatened by raging forest fires, was awarded second place in the “Contemporary issues – Singles” category. Based in Australia, Davey has 20 years’ experience in covering news across the country.

Finally, Oli Scarff won 3rd place in the “Sports – Singles” category. His photo “Liverpool Champions League Victory Parade” shows a throng of Liverpool supporters descending on the city’s streets after their victory against Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League final. Based in Manchester, Oli Scarff already won in the same category in 2018.