The 55th World Press Photo Contest has rounded up some of the most chilling and gorgeous photographs taken in 2011, capturing revolutions, natural disasters, and all the violence and beauty that shook the world last year. We weren’t surprised to see Donald Weber’s images of the tense hell inside a police interrogation room, or some of the iconic images that dominated the news, like the young rejected “bride” attempting suicide in China. We were however happily surprised by master photographer Guillaume Herbaut and his portrait of the provocative, topless protestors from Ukraine and Johnny Haglund’s almost surrealist photograph of a young girl fishing in the Congo river. From over 100,000 submissions, the judges have culled this powerful gallery of winners. We’ve made you a smaller one. See them and be moved. A warning: Some of these are graphic and NSFW.
Photo credit: Johnny Haglund, A Mouthful. A girl fishes in the Congo River.
Photo: Li Yang. Saving the Desperate ‘Bride.’ A 22-year-old girl saved from a suicide attempt after her boyfriend broke off their wedding.
Photo credit: Pavel Prokopchik, Apashka. A ritual performed by Apashka, the local Shaman in Ungurtas, Kazakhstan.
Photo credit: Brent Stirton. An intravenous drug addict and sex worker between clients in Ukraine.
Photo credit: Massoud Hossaini. Afghan Shia Muslims cry among the dead and injured after explosions during a religious ceremony in the centre of Kabul. At least 30 people were killed.
Photo credit: Jan Dago, The Fight for Tahrir Square.
Photo credit: Damir Sagolj, North Korea. A picture of North Korea’s founder, Kim Il-sung, decorates a building in the capital Pyongyang.
Photo credit: Guillaume Herbaut, Inna Shevchenko. The 21-year-old activist form Ukrainian from FEMEN who regularly stage topless protests against sex tourists, sexism and social problems.
Photo credit: Vincent Boisot, Dakar Fashion Week. A model poses in front of tailor stalls in the center of Dakar, Senegal.
Photo credit: Yasuyoshi Chiba, Tsunami. A boat was thrown by the tsunami onto a two-story building, at Otsuchi town, Iwate prefecture, Japan.