World Press Photo Contest 2015

Updated 10:08 AM ET, Thu February 12, 2015
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Jon and Alex, a gay couple, during an intimate moment in St. Petersburg, Russia. Life for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people is becoming increasingly difficult in Russia. Sexual minorities face legal and social discrimination, harassment, and even hate-crime attacks from conservative religious and nationalistic groups. Mads Nissen via WPP
Laurinda waits in her purple dress for the bus that will take her to Sunday school in New South Wales, Australia. She is among the many socially isolated young women in disadvantaged communities in Australia facing entrenched poverty, racism, trans-generational trauma, violence, addiction and a range of other barriers to health and well-being. Raphaela Rosella via WPP
Twin brothers Igor and Arthur hand out chocolates to their classmates to celebrate their 9th birthday in Baroncea, Moldova. When they were 2 years old, their mother traveled to Moscow to work in construction and later died. They have no father. They are among thousands of children growing up without their parents in the Moldovan countryside. Young people have fled the country, leaving a dwindling elderly population and young children. Asa Sjostrom via WPP
It was in the afternoon. I was sitting on my grandpa's couch. The door was slightly open, and I saw light coming through, washed out between the white door and white walls. All of a sudden it all started making sense. I could relate what I was seeing with what I felt. John and Prova, my grandparents. Growing up, I found much love and care from them. They were young and strong. As time went by, it shaped everything in its own way. Bodies took different forms and relations went distant. Grandma's hair turned gray, the walls started peeling off and the objects were all that remained. Everything was contained into one room. They always love the fact that I take pictures of them because then I spend more time with them, and they don't feel lonely anymore. After Prova passed away, I try to visit more so John can talk. He tells me stories of their early life, and how they met. There are so many stories. Here, life is silent, suspended. Everything is on a wait, a wait for something that I don't completely understand. Sarker Protick via WPP
Damaged goods lie in a kitchen in downtown Donetsk, Ukraine. Sergei Ilnitsky via WPP
Wei, a 19-year-old Chinese worker, wearing a mask and a Santa hat, stands next to Christmas decorations being dried in a factory in Yiwu, China, as red powder used for coloring hovers in the air. He wears six masks a day and the hat protects his hair from the red dust, which covers workers from head to toe like soot after several hours of work. Ronghui Chen via WPP
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. makes a one-handed touchdown catch in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Al Bello via WPP
Cadet at the Koninklijke Militaire Academie in Breda, The Netherlands, one of the most important military academies of Europe. Paolo Verzone via WPP
When spores of fungus land on an ant, they penetrate its exoskeleton and enter its brain, compelling the host to leave its normal habitat on the forest floor and scale a nearby tree. Filled to bursting with fungus, the dying ant fastens itself to a leaf or another surface. Fungal stalks burst from the ant's husk and rain spores onto ants below to begin the process again. Anand Varma via WPP
Students in a schoolyard in El Dorado County, California, are photographed from a drone. Several thousand people have been killed by covert U.S. drone strikes since 2004. The photographer bought his own drone, mounted a camera and traveled across the United States looking for similar situations as mentioned in strike reports from Pakistan and Yemen, including weddings, funerals and groups of people praying or exercising. He also flew his camera over settings in which drones are used to less lethal effect, such as prisons, oil fields and the U.S.-Mexico border. Tomas van Houtryve via WPP
Young Samburu warriors encounter a rhino for the first time in their lives. Most people in Kenya never get the opportunity to see the wildlife that exists in their own backyard. Ami Vitale via WPP
I first met Julie on January 28, 1993. Julie, 18, stood in the lobby of the Ambassador Hotel, barefoot, pants unzipped, and an 8-day-old infant in her arms. She lived in San Francisco's SRO district, a neighborhood of soup kitchens and cheap rooms. Her room was piled with clothes, overfull ashtrays and trash. She lived with Jack, father of her first baby, Rachel, and who had given her AIDS. Her first memory of her mother is getting drunk with her at 6 and then being sexually abused by her stepfather. She ran away at 14 and became a drug addict at 15. She has lived in alleys, crack dens, and bunked with more dirty old men than she cared to count. "Rachel," Julie said, "has given me a reason to live." Darcy Padilla via WPP
Medical staff at the Hastings Ebola Treatment Center in Freetown, Sierra Leone, work to escort a man in the throes of Ebola-induced delirium back into the isolation ward from which he escaped. The man died shortly after this picture was taken. Pete Muller via WPP
Shipwrecked people are rescued 20 miles north of Libya by a frigate of the Italian navy. After hundreds of men, women and children drowned in 2013 off the coast of Sicily and Malta, the Italian government put its navy to work under a campaign called "Mare Nostrum," rescuing refugees at sea. In 2014 alone, 170,081 people were rescued and taken to Italy. Massimo Sestini via WPP
A protester calls for medical aid for a comrade shot dead in Kiev, Ukraine. After several months of violence, anti-government protesters remained mobilized by holding barricades in Kiev's Independence Square, known simply as the Maidan. Jerome Sessini via WPP
Argentina player Lionel Messi faces the World Cup trophy during the final celebrations at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. His team lost to Germany 1-0, after a goal by Mario Götze in extra time. Bao Tailiang via WPP
In her school notebook, Hauwa Nkeki wrote a letter to her brother: "Dear Brother Nkeki, Million of greetings goes to you thousand to your friend zero to your enemies." Hauwa is one of the nearly 300 girls who were kidnapped by the Islamic militants Boko Haram on April 14, 2014, from their school dormitory in Chibok, a remote village in northern Nigeria. Boko Haram's name translates roughly to "Western education is sinful." The group believes that girls shouldn't be in school and boys should only learn the Quran. Glenna Gordon via WPP
A girl is pictured after she was wounded during clashes between riot police and protesters in Istanbul after the funeral of Berkin Elvan, a 15-year-old boy who died from injuries suffered during last year's anti-government protests. Riot police fired tear gas and water cannons at protesters in the capital Ankara, while in Istanbul, crowds shouting anti-government slogans lit a huge fire as they made their way to a cemetery for the burial of Elvan. Bulent Kilic via WPP
A monkey being trained for a circus cowers as its trainer approaches. With more than 300 troupes, Suzhou is known as the home of the Chinese circus. Yongzhi Chu via WPP