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Warren Richardson, Australia, 2015, "Hope for a New Life"
Warren Richardson, Australia, 2015, "Hope for a New Life"

Check Out the Winners of the 2016 World Press Photo Contest

Warren Richardson, Australia, 2015, "Hope for a New Life"
Warren Richardson, Australia, 2015, "Hope for a New Life"

For the past 59 years, the World Press Photo Foundation has chosen the year's best photographs taken by journalists around the world. This year, the foundation's jury sifted through 82,951 images from 5775 photographers to pick the recently-announced winners, according to Colossal.

In most of the categories—Contemporary Life, Daily Life, General News, Nature, People, Sports, Spot News—the judges chose six images. (Three were selected from the Long Term Projects category.) The group also awarded the World Press Photo of the Year to Australian-born, Eastern European-based photographer Warren Richardson for his photo (above) of men passing a baby under a razor-wire fence at the Hungarian-Serbian border this past summer. The photo, titled Hope For a New Life, also won first prize in the Spot News category.

Richardson told World Press Photo in a statement that he had already been camping with the refugees for five days when the photograph was taken. "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," he said. "So I had to use the moonlight alone."

Check out a few of the honorees below, and to see all of the photographs, head over to the World Press Photo contest page.

ZHANG LEE // HAZE IN CHINA

Contemporary Issues, first prize singles
China, Commissioned by Tianjin Daily
"A city in northern China shrouded in haze, Tianjin, China, 10 December 2015."

KEVIN FRAYER // CHINA'S COAL ADDICTION

Daily Life, 1st prize singles
Canada, Commissioned by Getty Images
"Chinese men pull a tricycle in a neighborhood next to a coal-fired power plant in Shanxi, China, on 26 November 2015."

CHRISTIAN WALGRAM // FIS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

Sports, 1st prize singles
Austria, Commissioned by GEPA pictures
"Czech Republic's Ondrej Bank crashes during the downhill race of the Alpine Combined at the FIS World Championships in Beaver Creek, Colorado, USA, on 15 February 2015."

ROHAN KELLY // STORM FRONT ON BONDI BEACH

Nature, 1st prize singles
Australia, Commissioned by Daily Telegraph
"A massive 'cloud tsunami' looms over Sydney as a sunbather reads, oblivious to the approaching cloud on Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia on 06 November 2015."

TIM LAMAN // TOUGH TIMES FOR ORANGUTANS

Nature, 1st prize stories
USA
"A Sumatran orangutan threatens another nearby male in the Batang Toru Forest, North Sumatra Province, Indonesia,17 March 2014."

SERGEY PONOMAREV // REPORTING EUROPE'S REFUGEE CRISIS

General News, 1st prize stories
Russia, Commissioned by The New York Times
"Refugees arrive by boat near the village of Skala on Lesbos, Greece, 16 November 2015."

ANUAR PATJANE FLORIUK // WHALE WHISPERERS

Nature, 2nd prize singles
Mexico
"Divers observe and surround a humpback whale and her newborn calf whilst they swim around Roca Partida in the Revillagigedo Islands, Mexico, 28 January 2015."

DANIEL OCHOA DE OLZA // LA MAYA TRADITION

People, 2nd prize stories
Spain, Commissioned by The Associated Press
"Young girls between the age of 7 and 11 are chosen every year as 'Maya' for the 'Las Mayas', a festival derived from pagan rites celebrating the arrival of spring, in the town of Colmenar Viejo, Spain. The girls are required to sit still for a couple of hours in a decorated altar."

[h/t Colossal]

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Show and Tell
Photograph of Jefferson Davis in Women’s Clothing
International Center for Photography, Gift of Charles Schwartz, 2012

On May 10, 1865, Jefferson Davis, the former President of the Confederacy, was captured by Union troops near Irwinville, Georgia. Davis’s capture, about a month after Robert E. Lee’s surrender to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia, was the effective end of the Confederacy and the four-year war that had left hundred of thousands of Americans dead.

Davis, a true believer in the cause of the Confederacy, refused to accept Lee’s surrender, believing that the South could still wage a guerilla war against the Union (clearly, Lee disagreed). With that cause in mind, Davis and his family fled Richmond, Virginia, the Confederate capital, hoping to make it to Texas, where he believed he could continue to fight. But the Davises would only make it as far as south Georgia before they were found by Union troops.

According to a handful of accounts from the period, Davis was captured while wearing women’s clothes. The story, as it’s generally told, depicts a man desperate to escape and so, with the encouragement of his wife, Varina, he donned her overcoat and shawl and slipped into the Georgia swamp with a female servant (other accounts say he grabbed his wife's coat and shawl accidentally). Union troops spotted the two “women” and, on closer look, realized that one was wearing spurred boots. Given away by his footwear, Davis surrendered to the Union troops.

The story of Davis in women’s clothing traveled quickly to the ears of Edwin Stanton, the Secretary of War. Stanton recognized the story as an opportunity to discredit Davis, who still had numerous sympathizers throughout the country. Historians have noted that the North gendered its victory as masculine and heroic and, in contrast, portrayed the South as feminine and weak. Davis’s flight played into that narrative, portraying the Southern leader as a coward willing to emasculate himself in order to escape. In short, manly martyrs do not wear women’s clothes. (Never mind that numerous eyewitness accounts disputed the story, including two by members of the First Wisconsin Cavalry, one of the units that captured Davis and his party and another by Davis’s coachman.)

Nevertheless, Stanton planned to exploit the account to the Union’s full advantage. But there was a slight hitch in his plan—namely, the look and style of Varina Davis’s overcoat and shawl. Mrs. Davis’s overcoat was essentially unisex, and bore a striking resemblance to the raincoats of Union soldiers. Furthermore, the shawl was also worn by many men in the mid-19th century, including Abraham Lincoln. The original plan foiled, Stanton encouraged the rumor that Davis had been captured wearing women’s petticoats, earning Davis the derogatory nickname “President in Petticoats.”

The rumor proved incredibly popular. Historian Gaines Foster writes, “Northerners delighted in the accounts of how the Confederate chieftain had tried to escape in female disguise.” Indeed, even P.T. Barnum couldn’t resist the spectacle: The circus king exhibited what he claimed to be the very clothes Davis was wearing at the time of his capture.

Boston Public Library via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Numerous prints circulated of Davis in petticoats, and photography—a relatively new medium at the time—took up the theme as well. In this combination photograph (up top) produced by the Slee Brothers of Poughkeepsie, New York, and now owned by the International Center of Photography in Manhattan, Davis is depicted in the petticoats of a woman, his head, taken from a separate photographic portrait, having been imposed on another body. Here, Davis wears bonnet, shawl, and petticoats, a fanciful elaboration on the story of his capture, and the skirts are lifted to reveal his spurred boots. The Slee Brothers were one of many photography studios to use combination printing—the production of a single positive through multiple negatives—to play with the theme of Davis fleeing in women’s clothes.

Other photographs from the period depict Davis’s head superimposed on a body wearing full hoop skirts with large men’s boots also imposed over the body, as well as Davis (again in full women’s dress) sneaking through the Georgia swampland while holding a dagger. In almost all of these photographs, the boots are prominently displayed, noting Davis’s folly and a clear part of the narrative of the North’s victory.

Photography was undoubtedly a powerful tool to disseminate the story of Davis’s and the South’s defeat. Davis himself recognized the importance of the new medium: In 1869, he commissioned a photograph of himself wearing the actual clothes he had worn when captured. But the act was fruitless and, despite his insistence, the “President in Petticoats” is a story that stuck with Davis long after death.

Header image: International Center for Photography

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By Ben Wittick (1845–1903) - Brian Lebel's Old West Show and Auction, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
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History
Photo of Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett, Purchased for $10, Could Be Worth Millions
By Ben Wittick (1845–1903) - Brian Lebel's Old West Show and Auction, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
By Ben Wittick (1845–1903) - Brian Lebel's Old West Show and Auction, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Several years ago, Randy Guijarro paid $2 for a few old photographs he found in an antiques shop in Fresno, California. In 2015, it was determined that one of those photos—said to be the second verified picture ever found of Billy the Kid—could fetch the lucky thrifter as much as $5 million. That story now sounds familiar to Frank Abrams, a lawyer from North Carolina who purchased his own photo of the legendary outlaw at a flea market in 2011. It turns out that the tintype, which he paid $10 for, is thought to be an image of Billy and Pat Garrett (the sheriff who would eventually kill him) taken in 1880. Like Guijarro’s find, experts say Abrams’s photo could be worth millions.

The discovery is as much a surprise to Abrams as anyone. As The New York Times reports, what drew Abrams to the photo was the fact that it was a tintype, a metal photographic image that was popular in the Wild West. Abrams didn’t recognize any of the men in the image, but he liked it and hung it on a wall in his home, which is where it was when an Airbnb guest joked that it might be a photo of Jesse James. He wasn’t too far off.

Using Google as his main research tool, Abrams attempted to find out if there was any famous face in that photo, and quickly realized that it was Pat Garrett. According to The New York Times:

Then, Mr. Abrams began to wonder about the man in the back with the prominent Adam’s apple. He eventually showed the tintype to Robert Stahl, a retired professor at Arizona State University and an expert on Billy the Kid.

Mr. Stahl encouraged Mr. Abrams to show the image to experts.

William Dunniway, a tintype expert, said the photograph was almost certainly taken between 1875 and 1880. “Everything matches: the plate, the clothing, the firearm,” he said in a phone interview. Mr. Dunniway worked with a forensics expert, Kent Gibson, to conclude that Billy the Kid and Mr. Garrett were indeed pictured.

Abrams, who is a criminal defense lawyer, described the process of investigating the history of the photo as akin to “taking on the biggest case you could ever imagine.” And while he’s thrilled that his epic flea market find could produce a major monetary windfall, don’t expect to see the image hitting the auction block any time soon. 

"Other people, they want to speculate from here to kingdom come,” Abrams told The New York Times of how much the photo, which he has not yet had valuated, might be worth. “I don’t know what it’s worth. I love history. It’s a privilege to have something like this.”

[h/t: The New York Times]

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