Evgeniy Maloletka, an Associated Press photographer, won the World Press Photo of the Year award on Thursday for his terrifying photograph of first responders dragging a pregnant woman through the demolished grounds of a maternity hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine, during the chaos that followed a Russian attack.
The horrific nature of Russia’s savage attack on the eastern port city early in the conflict was brought home by the Ukrainian photographer’s shot of the mortally wounded lady on March 9, 2022, with her left palm on her bleeding lower left belly.
Iryna Kalinina, 32, gave birth to a dead baby boy called Miron and then died from her injuries half an hour later.
“For me, it is a moment that I constantly try to forget yet am unable to. In an interview before the news, Maloletka remarked, “The narrative will always be with me.
“Despite harsh conditions, Evgeniy Maloletka managed to shoot one of the Russia-Ukraine war’s most iconic photos. Little would be known about one of Russia’s most devastating attacks if not for his unwavering bravery.
We are proud of him, said Julie Pace, senior vice president, and the Associated Press executive editor.
“It’s not often that a single image becomes seared into the world’s collective memory,” said AP Director of Photography J. David Ake. By capturing the ‘decisive moment,’ Evgeniy Maloletka upheld the tradition of AP journalists worldwide while preserving the highest photography standards.
They stayed in Mariupol for over two weeks, documenting the Russian military battering the city and attacking hospitals and other civilian infrastructure. Maloletka, AP video journalist Mystyslav Chernov, and AP producer Vasilisa Stepanenko, who are also Ukrainian, arrived in Mariupol just as Russia’s full-scale invasion, which began on Feb. 24, 2022, sparked Europe’s most significant conflict since World War II.
According to an AP investigation, up to 600 people may have perished on March 16 of last year when a bomb struck a Mariupol theater that was being used as a bomb shelter.
When the three ultimately made a problematic escape, they were the only foreign journalists in the city.
The jury members made decisions rapidly, according to Joumana El Zein Khoury, executive director of the World Press Photo Foundation.
It was “obvious from the start that it needed to win,” she claimed. Since the commencement of the judgment, every jury member has stated this. Why, too? Because it effectively demonstrates how war, particularly in this instance, the Ukrainian War, impacts not just one generation but several generations.
The crew, according to Maloletka, felt it was crucial to stay in Mariupol despite the threat “to collect the people’s voices and collect their emotions and to show them all over the world.”
The European regional World Press Photo Stories prize, which was announced in March, was given to a collection of photographs by Maloletka from besieged Mariupol.
The Knight International Journalism Award and the Visa d’Or News recognized Maloletka’s Mariupol photographs.
From more than 60,000 entries submitted by 3,752 participants from 127 countries, the four worldwide champions were chosen.
In the previous announcement of regional winners, Maya Levin’s photograph for AP of Israeli police assaulting mourners carrying Shireen Abu Akleh’s coffin stood out. Abu Akleh was an Al Jazeera journalist tragically shot while documenting an Israeli military incursion in the West Bank. Israeli security officials said one of their troops likely shot the well-known reporter under pressure from the international community.
The IDF closed the case after denying that the shooting was deliberate.
Emilio Morenatti, a Pulitzer Prize-winning AP photographer who lost a leg while covering a story in Afghanistan, received an honorable mention for a collection of photographs depicting individuals in Ukraine who have had amputations as a result of their condition.