World Press Photo Awards 2006

US photographer Spencer Platt made the winning photograph for the World Press Photo of the Year 2006. The photo could not have been staged better — it is so absolutely real and surreal at the same time. These are our times, like it or not.

The picture shows a group of young Lebanese driving through a South Beirut neighborhood devastated by Israeli bombings. The picture was taken on 15 August 2006, the first day of the ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah when thousands of Lebanese started returning to their homes.

There are lots of other stunners that hold you while you hold your breath.

World Press Photo jury chair Michele McNally describes the winning image: “It’s a picture you can keep looking at. It has the complexity and contradiction of real life, amidst chaos. This photograph makes you look beyond the obvious.”

This year 4,460 professional photographers from 124 countries entered 78,083 images in the most prestigious annual international competition in press photography. The judging sessions took place in Amsterdam from 27 January to 8 February. The jury gave prizes in 10 theme categories to 58 photographers of 23 nationalities from: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Palestinian Territories, People’s Republic of China, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and the USA.

The annual exhibition of these photos will visit over 85 locations around the world.