The Best in Photojournalism: World Press Photo 2011 Winners

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Every year, the Amsterdam-based World Press Photo Awards recognize talented photojournalists worldwide who capture the year’s stories in their poignant and often provocative work. This year’s winner was South African photographer Jodi Bieber, for his haunting portrait of an 18-year-old Afghan woman who was brutally disfigured by her husband after a Taliban commander ordered her ears and nose cut off as punishment for fleeing an abusive marriage. From the aftermath of the earthquakes in China and Haiti to the excitement of the Milan Fashion Week to the alien views of exotic volcanoes, the World Press Photo selection encompasses a vast range of human experience from the year 2010. Yes, much of it is wrought with traumatic imagery, but also beauty. See a few of these breath-taking and heart-wrenching works in our gallery of the finalists. Warning: Some are very graphic.

World Press Photo of the Year 2010. Jodi Bieber’s photograph of 18-year-old domestic violence victim Bibi Aisha., disfigured by her husband as ordered by the Talbuan in Afghanistan. She now lives in the United States.

World Photo 2011: Olivier Grunewald’s photograph of “the Center of the Earth” in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

World Photo 2011: Guang Niu’s photograph of Tibetan monks preparing for the mass cremation of earthquake victims on a mountaintop in Yushu county, Qinghai province, in China.

World Photo 2011: Joost van den Broek’s photograph of Kirill Lewerski, cadet on Russian tall ship Kruzenshtern.

World Photo 2011: Marco Di Lauro’s photograph of the meat trade market at the Gadabedji reserve in food crisis-struck Niger.

World Photo 2011: Peter Lakatos’ photograph of a suicide. A 40-year-old man lit himself on fire and threw himself off a turret of Liberty Bridge in Budapest, Hungary. The motive is unclear.

World Photo 2011: Davide Monteleone’s photograph of the Davide Monteleone at the Milan Fashion Week.

World Photo 2011: Andrew McConnell’s photo of an orchestra member and market worker practicing her cello in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

World Photo 2011: Andrew McConnell’s photo of a Saharawi woman in the Morocco-controlled region of Western Sahara. Her people are involved in a decades-long dispute for independence.

World Photo 2011: Olivier Laban-Mattei’s photograph of the Haiti earthquake aftermath.

World Photo 2011: Seamus Murphy’s portrait of Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks.

World Photo 2011: Kemal Jufri’s photograph of the aftermath of the Mount Merapi volcano in Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia.

World Photo 2011: Ed Kashi’s photo of nine-year-old Nguyen Thi Ly who suffers from Agent Orange disabilities in Da Nang, Vietnam.

World Photo 2011: Wolfram Hahn’s portrait of a young woman reenacting her MySpace self-portraits shooting session.

World Photo 2011: Omar Feisal’s photograph of a man carrying a shark through the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia.

World Photo 2011: Stefano Unterthiner’s photograph of Swans walk on Lake Kussharo in Japan.