South African Photographer Jodi Bieber Wins World Press Photo Contest

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The annual best-of-the-best in photojournalism has just recently been announced, with this year’s winners of the World Press Photo Contest. Nearly 6,000 photographers submitted work, totaling over 100,000 images and resulting in 56 winners spread across nine categories. The top winner is South African photographer Jodi Bieber for her image of a woman terribly abused at the hands of the Taliban, her husband, and his family, taken for Time magazine. It’s a painful, incredibly heartbreaking photograph, as are many of the images by winners of the prize, given that the world events that make news aren’t always humanity at its best. The World Press Photo’s site has a full list of all the winners and the Boston Globe‘s popular Big Picture has a high-resolution selection of the wins. Here’s more about Bieber’s photo:

Her winning picture shows Bibi Aisha, an 18-year-old woman from Oruzgan province in Afghanistan, who fled back to her family home from her husband’s house, complaining of violent treatment. The Taliban arrived one night, demanding Bibi be handed over to face justice. After a Taliban commander pronounced his verdict, Bibi’s brother-in-law held her down and her husband sliced off her ears and then cut off her nose. Bibi was abandoned, but later rescued by aid workers and the American military. After time in a women’s refuge in Kabul, she was taken to America, where she received counseling and reconstructive surgery. Bibi Aisha now lives in the US.