Samuel Aranda Wins the World Press Photo of the Year 2012

©Samuel Aranda

 This powerful photograph by photographer Samuel Aranda was introduced today as the World Press Photo of the Year 2012. The description reads,

A woman holds a wounded relative in her arms, inside a mosque used as a field hospital by demonstrators against the rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, during clashes in Sanaa, Yemen on 15 October 2011.

The image was selected from 101,254 photos that were submitted to the World Press Photo 2012 competition by 5,247 photographers in 124 countries. You can check out all the other winners in the different categories on The Big Picture and over on the World Press Photo website.

 Comments on the winning photo by the jury

Koyo Kouoh: “It is a photo that speaks for the entire region. It stands for Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, for all that happened in the Arab Spring. But it shows a private, intimate side of what went on. And it shows the role that women played, not only as care-givers, but as active people in the movement.”

Nina Berman: “In the Western media, we seldom see veiled women in this way, at such an intimate moment. It is as if all of the events of the Arab Spring resulted in this single moment – in moments like this.”

Aidan Sullivan: “The winning photo shows a poignant, compassionate moment, the human consequence of an enormous event, an event that is still going on. 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.”

Manoocher Deghati: “The photo is the result of a very human moment, but it also reminds us of something important, that women played a crucial part in this revolution. It is easy to portray the aggressiveness of situations like these. This image shows the tenderness that can exist within all the aggression. The violence is still there, but it shows another side.”


I was born in 1979 in Santa Coloma de Gramanet, Barcelona, and started as photojournalist at 19 for the Spanish newspapers  El Pais and El Periodico de Catalunya.
At 21 I traveled to the Middle East to cover the Palestinian-Israeli conflict for the Spanish agency EFE.

In 2004 I joined AFP, covering multiple conflicts and social issues in Spain, Pakistan, Gaza, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestinian Territories, Morocco, Western Sahara and China.

In 2006 my feature about African immigrants trying to reach Europe was awarded with the Spanish National Award of Photography from the photojournalist association ANIGP-TV. The images were also featured at Visa Pour L´Image and in a documentary from the BBC.

In 2006 I returned to freelancing. Since then my work has included projects on Uzbekistan´s Aral Sea, social issues in India, Kosovo´s independence, South Africa before the World Cup, conflict in Colombia, the dispute between Moldova and Transnistria, street kids in Bucharest and the Camorra mafia in Naples.

In 2011 I began ongoing coverage of the Arab revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen. My work on this issue thus far has been displayed in an exhibition at the Cervantes Institute in New York and featured on the “photos of the year 2011” by The New York Times.

My photos have been published in The New York Times, Le Monde, Newsweek, Stern, and Geo, among others.

At the moment I work as a freelancer mainly for The New York Times and El Magazine de La Vanguardia among others.

Currently based between Barcelona and Tunisia and my work is represented by Corbis Images.


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