'War, loss, courage and perseverance': See the 2024 winners of World Press Photo Contest

A prestigious global photography competition has announced the winners of its annual contest, which aims to recognize photojournalists documenting a range of vital issues.

Selected images covered stories "of desperation, hunger, war and loss—but also of perseverance, courage, love, family, dreams and more butterflies than anyone has a right to expect,” World Press Photo said in a statement Thursday. The Israel-Hamas war, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine amid Russia's invasion, climate change and more topics were highlighted by jurors this year.

The World Press Photo Foundation, an Amsterdam-based nonprofit founded in 1955, chose Reuters photographer Mohammed Salem's image of a Palestinian woman embracing the body of her 5-year-old niece as Photo of the Year.

According to Reuters, "families were searching for relatives killed during Israeli bombing of the Palestinian enclave." The image was captured just a couple of weeks after the outset of the Israel-Hamas war in the morgue at Nasser hospital in Khan Younis in southern Gaza.

Last year, Salem described this photo, taken just days after his own wife gave birth, as "a powerful and a sad moment, and I felt the picture sums up the broader sense of what was happening in the Gaza Strip," Reuters reported.

“People were confused, running from one place to another, anxious to know the fate of their loved ones, and this woman caught my eye as she was holding the body of the little girl and refused to let go,” Salem said.

Reuters Global Editor for Pictures and Video, Rickey Rogers, conveyed a messaged from Salem during a ceremony at the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam, according to Reuters.

"Mohammed received the news of his WPP award with humility, saying that this is not a photo to celebrate but that he appreciates its recognition and the opportunity to publish it to a wider audience" Rogers said. "He hopes with this award that the world will become even more conscious of the human impact of war, especially on children," Rogers said, standing in front of the photo.

The contest announced the winners of three more categories: Stories, Long-Term Projects and Open Format.

The four global winners, selected from the 24 regional winners announced earlier this month, were chosen from 61,062 entries by 3,851 professional photographers in 130 countries.

World Press Photo Long-Term Project Award

Alejandro Cegarra's long-term project for The New York Times and Bloomberg, titled "The Two Walls", examines a shift in Mexico's immigration policies over the past few years.

Cegarra's perspective as a native Venezuelan who immigrated to Mexico in 2017 "afforded a sensitive human centered perspective that centers the agency and resilience of migrants," World Press Photo said.

World Press Photo Story of the Year

Lee-Ann Olwage's work focusing on Madagascar's "lack of public awareness surrounding dementia" for GEO won World Press Photo's Story of the Year category. The story, titled "Valim-babena", follows Paul Rakotozandriny, 91, who has lived with dementia for 11 years. His daughter, Fara Rafaraniriana, 41, is his caretaker.

“This story tackles a universal health issue through the lens of family and care. The selection of images are composed with warmth and tenderness reminding viewers of the love and closeness necessary in a time of war and aggression worldwide,” the jury said.

World Press Photo Open Format Award

Ukrainian photographer Julia Kochetova's project in collaboration with a Ukrainian illustrator and DJ, titled "War Is Personal", blends still images with poetry, audio clips and music to bring "together photojournalism with the personal documentary style of a diary to show the world what it is like to live with war as an everyday reality," World Press Photo states.

To see all the contest winning photos and stories, visit World Press Photo's website.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'War, loss and perseverance': See the 2024 World Press Photo winners