U.S. photographer wins top prize


U.S. freelance photographer Lara Jo Regan won the prestigious World Press Photo of the Year 2000 award on Friday for her painterly picture of a poverty-stricken mother and children at their dingy Texas home.

“Uncounted Americans: Sanchez family at home, Texas”, shows a Hispanic woman with three children. She is making a traditional “pinata” papier mache party doll to sell, the sole source of income for her family.

The 32-year-old Regan, the third woman to win the top international professional press photography contest in its 44-year history, took the picture for Life magazine in March.

The winning work, announced at a news conference in Amsterdam, was chosen from more than 42,300 pictures submitted by almost 4,000 photographers from 121 countries.

“The reason we chose it was to get away from the in-your-face hard news photos or more symbolic type images, to get the reader to look more carefully at a more subtle picture,” jury chairman Robert Pledge told Reuters Television.

Photos of Russia and the former Soviet Union featured strongly among the winners of individual theme categories.

The Spot News Singles award went to Izvestia photographer Yuri Shtukin for his picture of a bomb attack in a Moscow underground station, while Magnum Photos’ Thomas Dworzak won the Spot News prize for his shot of Chechen fighters leaving Grozny.

Two Chechnya photographs also came first and third in the General News Stories category.

Reuters photographers in the Middle East took three prizes. Reinhard Krause won the General News Singles award for his shot of Palestinians fleeing tear gas in Gaza, and Amit Shabi came second in that category for his picture of an Israeli policeman arguing fiercely with a Palestinian man in Jerusalem.

Reuters’ Suhaib Salem was placed third in the Spot News Singles section for his photograph of a scuffle between Israeli and Palestinian police in Gaza.