AMSTERDAM - A photograph of two gay lovers in St. Petersburg won the World Press Photo of the Year award, organisers said on Thursday, selecting a picture they said highlighted increasing hardships for homosexuals in Russia.
The photo, in which the two faces are picked out by light in a darkened bedroom, won the contemporary issues category before taking the overall prize, beating more conventional conflict shots that the competition is best known for.
"Life for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people is becoming increasingly difficult in Russia," Amsterdam-based World Press Photo said in a statement.
"Sexual minorities face legal and social discrimination." Jury chair Michele McNally, director of photography at The New York Times, said the image was "aesthetically powerful, and it has humanity."
The photo was taken by Mads Nissen, who was born in 1979, a staff photographer for the Danish daily newspaper Politiken.
The first prize for a single spot news image went to Bulent Kilic of Turkey for a picture of an injured girl surrounded by police and soaked by water cannons at a protest in Istanbul.
The competition receives nearly 100,000 entries, some ofwar and natural disasters, others of daily life.