Pictures of the Year Names Winners of 79th Contest | Feature Articles

About six decades before The Missourian helped found the Missouri Photojournalism Hall of Fame, Missouri was already recognizing achievement in visual journalism through the Pictures of the Year competition.

The contest began in 1944 as a way “to honor excellence in photojournalism, preserve an organized collection of images, and come together as a community through the contest,” according to POY’s website.

For the second year in a row, the contest moved to a virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photos for this year’s competition were largely due to be taken in 2021 except for one category.

Orphan mountain gorilla Ndakasi is seen in the arms of his Congolese carer for 13 years, André Bauma. This photograph was taken shortly before his death due to an unresolved health issue. Ndakasi was first introduced to Virunga rangers during a heavy downpour in the park’s rainforest in 2007. She was two months old and was found clinging to her mother’s corpse, trying unsuccessfully to suckle. Ndakasi was the only mountain gorilla to survive a fatal shooting that claimed the lives of nine critically endangered mountain gorillas that day. Fragile and unlikely to survive long, ICCN ranger André Bauma sheltered her from the rain, using his body heat to keep her alive until morning, thus beginning a relationship that was to last more than 13 years. Ndakasi spent 13 years in Senkwekwe but despite extraordinary veterinary intervention, she developed an elusive disease in the last 6 months which claimed her life. There are only 2 captive mountain gorillas left in the world, both in Senkwekwe.

Beginning Feb. 9, judges sifted through print and online photos, documentary videos and visual packages, awarding first place, runners-up and excellence awards in each category.

Anya Taylor Joy

Culver City, CA – Actress Anya Taylor-Joy is seen through a lens, in support of her Emmy nomination for Lead Actress in a Limited Series, for her role in Netflix’s ‘The Queen’s Gambit,’ at a photo studio in Culver City, CA on Friday, August 6, 2021.

Each photographer is entitled to a maximum of 15 submissions – either single images, a photo story, a project or a portfolio – in any combination of categories.

Categories cover a wide range of topics, including news, portraits, science and the environment, sports, documentaries, and photo editing.

POY 79’s competition also featured the return of Olympic categories, showcasing work from the Tokyo Summer Olympics as well as Impact 2021: COVID-19 Year 2, where photographers could submit in-depth stories spanning the two years of the pandemic.

San Francisco Chronicle photojournalist Gabrielle Lurie won the local photographer of the year award for the second year in a row, the first time a nominee has won two years in a row since 1971.

In addition to unique images, her winning portfolio included stories about eviction, abortion, homelessness and drug addiction.

Lurie’s full winning portfolio is shown below.

Lynsey Addario won first place in the Photographer of the Year, International category. It was the first year since 1997 that women won both Photographer of the Year categories.

Addario’s portfolio included stories about female firefighters in California, floods in South Sudan and the Tigray War.

Addario’s full winning portfolio is shown below.

A full list of winners and their winning images are available at

On April 22, POY will host an exhibit and presentations from this year’s competition at the Reynolds Journalism Institute on the campus of the University of Missouri, Columbia. More details about the event will be listed on in the coming weeks.

Concerts for cows

Jacob Shaw, renowned cellist and personality of the Scandinavian Cello School, located in Stevns, in the south-east of Denmark. At the school, talents from all over the world come together to practice and grow in an informal setting. The idea behind “Concerts for Cows” was born, when Danish Corona restrictions made it impossible to perform in front of a human audience. The gigs aren’t just for the cows, though. Musicians admit that when playing in this rather absurd environment, they tend to become less jittery and more relaxed. They teach themselves that if they can perform at the highest level in a cowshed, they are also capable of giving their best on the stage of the Royal Albert Hall in London, England.

On April 23, a specific POY session will be presented at the Unbound Book Festival at Columbia.

“We’re going to be bringing visual storytellers into the fold,” said Lynden Steele, director of POY.

Where wild boars monopolize the streets

A large wild boar sniffs an elderly woman in Haifa after boldly hand-feeding the animal.

Officer Goodman

Officer Eugene Goodman stood firm as a violent mob marched toward the Senate Chamber after storming the Capitol. Ashley Gilbertson explains in her own words: “As they rounded a corner, the crowd stopped. A lone policeman was yelling at them to stop and turn back. Men in QAnon shirts shouted back, and another waved a Confederate flag in front of the officer. He took out his staff to fight them, but fell to the ground in the chaos. He unclipped his gun holster and put his hand on the handle, and I put a rioter between me and him as a shield. But the officer never drew his handgun. His name, I will learn later, was Eugene Goodman. It acted as a diversion to draw rioters away from the Senate Chamber. There haven’t been many moments we can be proud of as a nation from January 6, 2021, but this is one.

Sam Hubbard tackles Lamar Jackson

Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Sam Hubbard #94 tackles Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 during the fourth quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on October 24, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland.

First place: Face of our time

Chiara, 19, is pictured in her 9 square meter bedroom in Tombolo, a tiny town in northern Italy, holding a framed portrait of her face that I took a month earlier in my studio. Her tiny room is where she spent 34 days in quarantine during the second wave of COVID, also isolated from the rest of her family. As an extremely active and eclectic person, she suffered more from the psychological inconveniences of the pandemic than the physical ones. In Italy, depressive symptoms, suicidal tendencies, anorexia and self-harm interested 50% of young people, especially women.

under the volcano

A house is covered in ash from a volcano as it continues to erupt on the Canary island of La Palma, Spain, Saturday October 30, 2021. A volcano erupts on the Spanish island of La Palma continued to emit large amounts of magma, gas and ash on Saturday, after days of intense seismic activity and more than five weeks since its eruption.

Blocked by Max Christie

Minnesota’s Luke Loewe (12) is blocked as he is defended by Michigan State’s Max Christie (5) and Julius Marble II in the second half Wednesday, December 8, 2021 at Williams Arena in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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