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Plight of refugees traveling across Europe wins 2015 World Press Photo of the Year

A photo of a man passing a baby through a fence at the Hungarian-Serbian border has been named the 59th World Press Photo of the Year. The striking photo, “Hope for a New Life,” was captured by Warren Richardson, a freelance photographer. Richardson’s photo shows refugees crossing the border from Serbia into Hungary, near Horgoš (Serbia) and Röszke (Hungary), on the evening of August 25, 2015. The man and child in the photo were part of the movement of people seeking to cross into Hungary before a secured fence was completed.

“I camped with the refugees for five days on the border,” Richardson said. “A group of about 200 people arrived, and they moved under the trees along the fence line. They sent women and children, then fathers and elderly men first. I must have been with this crew for about five hours and we played cat and mouse with the police the whole night. I was exhausted by the time I took the picture. It was around three o’clock in the morning and you can’t use a flash while the police are trying to find these people, because I would just give them away. So I had to use the moonlight alone.”

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Vaughn Wallace, deputy photo editor at Al Jazeera America and WPP jury member, said of the photo: “We’ve seen thousands of images of migrants in every form of their journey, but this image really caught my eye. It causes you to stop and consider the man’s face, consider the child. You see the sharpness of the barbed wire and the hands reaching out from the darkness. This isn’t the end of a journey, but the completion of one stage of a very long future.”

The Budapest-based photographer also won first prize in the Spot News category. For the recent competition, 5,775 photographers from 128 countries submitted roughly 82,951 images. As the premier winner, Richardson receives a 10,000-Euro cash prize and a new Canon EOS-1D X Mark II.

Click here to see the other winners. The WPP also posted a series of videos, in which the judges discuss the competition.