Disclaimer: Some of the images here and also more at the official World Press Photo Website may be considered very disturbing or graphic to some readers.
"The annual World Press Photo Contest is at the core of the organization's activities. It offers an overview of how press photographers tackle their work worldwide and how the press gives us the news, bringing together pictures from all parts of the globe to reflect trends and developments in photojournalism."
Below is a cross section of some of the winners of this 'best of the best' in photo journalism. If you are easily offended, please close your browser now. I personally find these particluar images some of the most powerful and impactful.
World Press Photo of the Year
Bibi Aisha, an 18-year-old woman from Oruzgan province in Afghanistan, who fled back to her family home from her husband's house, complaining of violent treatment. The Taliban arrived one night, demanding Bibi be handed over to face justice. After a Taliban commander pronounced his verdict, Bibi's brother-in-law held her down and her husband sliced off her ears and then cut off her nose. Bibi was abandoned, but later rescued by aid workers and the American military. After time in a women's refuge in Kabul, she was taken to America, where she received counseling and reconstructive surgery. Bibi Aisha now lives in the US, by Jodi Bieber, South Africa, Institute for Artist Management/Goodman Gallery for Time magazine.
Picture: Jodi Bieber, South Africa, Institute for Artist Management / Goodman Gallery for Time magazine
1st Prize General News Single
Old Iron Market burns, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 18 January, by Riccardo Venturi, Italy, Contrasto
Picture: Riccardo Venturi, Italy, Contrasto
1st Prize General News Stories
Haiti earthquake aftermath, 15-26 January, A man throws a dead body at the morgue of the general hospital, Port-au-Prince, 15 January, by Olivier Laban-Mattei, France, Agence France-Presse
Picture: Olivier Laban-Mattei, France, Agence France-Presse
1st Prize People In The News Stories
Pakistan floods, August-September:Flood victims scramble for food as they battle the downwash from a Pakistan army helicopter during relief operations, Dadu, Pakistan, 13 September, by Daniel Berehulak, Australia, Getty Images
Picture: Daniel Berehulak, Australia, Getty Images
2nd Prize People In The News Single
Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, London, 30 September, by Seamus Murphy, Ireland, VII Photo Agency
Picture: Seamus Murphy, Ireland, VII Photo Agency
1st Prize Spot News Single
Suicide jump, Budapest, Hungary, 22 May, by Peter Lakatos, Hungary, MTI
Picture: Peter Lakatos, Hungary, MTI
2nd Prize Spot News Stories
Anti-government riots, Bangkok, Thailand, May, by Corentin Fohlen, France, Fedephoto
Picture: Corentin Fohlen, France, Fedephoto
1st Prize Daily Life Stories
Metropolis, by Martin Roemers, The Netherlands, Panos Pictures
Picture: Martin Roemers, The Netherlands, Panos Pictures
1st Prize Daily Life Single
Man carries a shark through the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia, 23 September, by Omar Feisal, Somalia, for Reuters.
Picture: Omar Feisal, Somalia, for Reuters
1st Prize Contemporary Issues Stories
Escape from Somalia, March: Four Somali refugees en route to Yemen sleep in the desert after traveling all night on muddy roads and in pouring rain, Somaliland, 15 March, by Ed Ou, Canada, Reportage by Getty Images
Picture: Ed Ou, Canada, Reportage by Getty Images
1st Prize Sport Single
Netherlands Demy de Zeeuw is kicked in the face by Uruguays Martin Caceres during World Cup semi-final, Cape Town, 6 July, by Mike Hutchings, South Africa, for Reuters
Picture: Mike Hutchings, South Africa, for Reuters
1st Prize Sport Stories
Sports portfolio: Thomas Daley of Great Britain competes in the preliminary of the Men's 3m Springboard diving event during the Youth Olympics at Toa Payoh Swimming Complex, Singapore, 22 August, Adam Pretty, Australia, Getty Images
Picture: Adam Pretty, Australia, Getty Images
2nd Prize Arts and Entertainment Stories
The Flying Cholitas, Bolivia - Lucha libre (Bolivian wrestling) is one of the most popular sports in the country. Women wrestlers are known as cholitas and have in the last ten years become popular in the sport. Here, Carmen Rosa and Yulia la Pacena perform in a benefit show to raise money for the bathrooms of a school in La Paz, Bolivia, 26 June by Daniele Tamagni, Italy
Picture: Daniele Tamagni, Italy
2nd Prize Contemporary Issues Single
Nguyen Thi Ly, 9, suffers from Agent Orange disabilities, Da Nang, Vietnam, by Ed Kashi, USA, VII Photo Agency.
Picture: Ed Kashi, USA, VII Photo Agency
2nd Prize Portraits Single
Kirill Lewerski, cadet on Russian tall ship Kruzenshtern, by Joost van den Broek, the Netherlands, de Volkskrant
Picture: Joost van den Broek, the Netherlands, de Volkskrant
2nd Prize Arts and Entertainment Single
Milan Fashion Week: Valeria Marini show, by Davide Monteleone, Italy, Contrasto for The New York Times Style Magazine.
Picture: Davide Monteleone, Italy, Contrasto for The New York Times Style Magazine
2nd Prize Portraits Stories
Self-portraits for social network, by Wolfram Hahn, Germany.
Picture: Wolfram Hahn, Germany
2nd Prize Nature Stories
Whooper Swans at dawn, Hokkaido, Japan, by Stefano Unterthiner, Italy, for National Geographic magazine, January.
Picture: Stefano Unterthiner, Italy, for National Geographic magazine
2nd Prize Nature Single
Atlantic sailfish attack Spanish sardines, off Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, by Reinhard Dirscherl, Germany.
Picture: Reinhard Dirscherl, Germany
2nd Prize General News Single
Tibetan monks prepare for the mass cremation of earthquake victims on a mountaintop in Yushu county, Qinghai province, in China. A 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck the province on 14 April, killing over 2,600 people and injuring some 12,000 more. Tibetans usually practice sky burial, leaving corpses out for vultures, but the sheer numbers of dead in this case forced the monks to abandon tradition
Picture: Guang Niu, China, for Getty Images
1st Prize Spot News Stories
The magnitude 7.0 earthquake that hit Haiti on 12 January caused the collapse of a total of 188,383 buildings, of which 105,000 were completely destroyed. The quake struck a land that, depleted by decades of instability, was already the poorest country in the Americas. A woman is rescued from rubble, minutes after the quake.
Picture: Daniel Morel, Haiti
Please click here to visit the official World Press Photo website for more of the winning images (singles and series from stories)