An Iconic Photograph of An Assassination Selected World Press Photo of Year
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A photograph Shot in the seconds following the assassination of Andrey Karlov, Russia's ambassador to Turkey has been chosen by a jury of professional photographers and editors as the World Press Photo of the Year, a prestigious photojournalism award.
Burhan Ozbilici’s photograph is intense and haunting. Shot in the seconds following the assassination of Andrey Karlov, Russia's ambassador to Turkey, it shows the gunman, Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş, standing next to the lifeless body, with one hand pointing to the sky and the other still holding the gun. On his face, we can read his fury and determination, making Ozbilici’s photograph one of the most intense images of 2016.
The photograph, which has been equally celebrated for its importance and denounced for its raw depiction of a man’s fanaticism , led the news last December and will continue to do so in the weeks to come after a jury of professional photographers and editors selected it as the World Press Photo of the Year, a prestigious photojournalism award.
The jury, which convened in Amsterdam in early February, was, however, cripplingly split, TIME has learnt, with the photograph receiving a simple majority of 5-4, several people familiar with the judging, who asked not to be named, confirm.
“It was a very close thing,” says Magnum photographer Stuart Franklin, the chair of this year’s jury. “I didn’t think, if I’m honest with you, that it should be World Press Photo of the Year, but look, I’m just one of the jurors… The majority vote was that it should be the picture.”
The decision was a hard one to make, but one that she agrees with, says photographer Tanya Habjouqa, one of the nine members of the jury. "The World Press Photo of the Year holds mystery," she tells TIME.
"It is a photo that despite being spot news – a raw, in-the-moment, truth – it also begs questions about the [killer's] motivations. Questions that may never be answered." Plus, she says, details about the image jolted her.
"The poor state of the assassinated Russian ambassador's shoes along with the flung glasses in the corner. I had never noticed that before."