Awards & Competitions

Jodi Bieber Wins World Press Photo of the Year

February 11, 2011

By Holly Stuart Hughes

© Jodi Bieber / Institute for Artist Management / Goodman Gallery for TIME

Bieber's portrait of an Afghan woman whose nose and ears were cut off in retaliation for fleeing her abusive husband, also took first place in the Portrait category.

South African-born photographer Jodi Bieber has won the 2011 World Press Photo of the Year for her portrait of an Afghan woman attacked by her husband. The World Press Photo Organization announced the winners of the 54th annual contest February 11 in Amsterdam.

Bieber’s close-up portrait shows 18-year-old Bibi Aisha, who tried to flee to her family home to escape her husband’s abuse. At the order of a Taliban commander, she was held down by her brother-in-law and her husband cut off Aisha’s ears and her nose. Aisha was rescued by aid workers and the US military and taken to a women’s refuge in Kabul. She now lives in the US. Bieber’s image of Aisha also won first place in the World Press Photo Portrait category.

Ruth Eichorn, director of photography at Geo and a member of the World Press Photo contest jury, said of Bieber’s photo,  “It sends out an enormously powerful message to the world, about the 50 percent of the population that are women, so many of whom still live in miserable conditions, suffering violence. It is strong because the woman looks so dignified, iconic.”

Bieber will receive a cash prize of 10,000 Euro,  a Canon EOS camera and lens kit and a Swiss watch from contest sponsor Muruie Lacroix.  All the World Press Photo Prizes will be awarded at a ceremony in Amsterdam May 7.

The jury for the 2011 World Press Photo Contest chose to give a Special Mention prize to a series of photos shot by Edison Pena, one of the Chilean miners trapped underground for 69 days. Pena took the photos with a small digital camera provided by photographer Adam Ferguson and writer Dan McDougall, who had spent weeks with Pena’s family before he was rescued. (See PDN Pulse: “Panos Licenses Photos Shot Inside the Chile Mine.”)

The World Press Photo Contest honors outstanding photojournalism, both single pictures and portfolios or photo stories, in nine categories: Spot News, General News, People in the News, Sports, Contemporary Issues, Daily Life, Arts and Entertainment, Portraits, and Nature.  

Among the first place winners in this year’s contest were Haitian photographer Daniel Morel, who won 1st prize for Spot News: Stories for his photos of the earthquake. (Morel is now suing AFP and others for unauthorized use of the images.)  Other photographers honored for their earthquake coverage are Marco di Lauro, whose black-and-white image of a fire in Port Au Prince won 1st prize in the General News, singles.
Ed Ou of Getty Images won 1st place in  Contemporary Issues: Stories, for “Escape from Somalia.” Benjamin Lowy, another Getty photographer, won 1st Place in the Nature: Stories category for his images of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, published in GQ.

This year’s winners were selected from a record number of entries: 108,059 images in all.   The full list of winners can be found at

For the first time this year, World Press Photo competition will also award a prize for multimedia during its Awards gala. The judging will take place in March.  The jury for the multimedia category will be chaired by photographer Ed Kashi.  

 Related story:
Q&A: Stephen Mayes on Restoring Relevance to Photo-j Competitions

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