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AFP's Ronaldo Schemidt wins World Press Photo of the Year for picture of burning Venezuelan protester

A photo of a young anti-government protester on fire has been named Photo of the Year at the World Press Photo Festival.

Agence France-Presse photographer Ronald Schemidt’s image shows 28-year-old Venezuelan José Víctor Salazar Balza set ablaze by an exploding motorcycle petrol tank.

Venezuelan born Schemidt took the photo whilst covering protests against President Nicolás Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, on May 3 last year.

Judges said the image invoked an “instantaneous emotion” and had great colour composition and movement.

In an interview with AFP, Schemidt said: “I didn’t see it. I just felt the explosion, the heat, and started taking pictures.

“I shot within the ball of fire without really knowing what was happening. I only realised a few seconds later that it was a person on fire.

“When I saw the pictures, I felt shocked – for the young man, for the accident, for the level of violence the conflict had escalated to.”

His picture also won first prize in the Spot Singles category.

The annual World Press Photo of the Year honours a photographer “whose visual creativity and skills made a picture that captures or represents an event or issue of great journalistic importance in the last year”.

More than 4,548 photographers from 125 different countries entered the competition.

Other winners at the 2018 World Press Photo awards included:

  • Patrick Brown, whose image of the bodies of Rohingya refugees won in the General News Singles category

    Patrick Brown
  • Jesco Denzel, who won in the Contemporary Issues Singles category, for his picture of boats in an ancient fishing village on the shores of Lagos, Nigeria

    Jesco Denzel
  • Oli Scarff (also of AFP), who took first prize in the Sport Singles category for his image of the Shrovetide football match in Derbyshire

    Oli Scarff

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