From climate change protests to democratic uprisings against biased and violent authorities, it is clear that 2019 has been a pivotal year for citizens all over the world. It's in this context that free-to-use mobile app Agora launched its first #Photojournalism photo contest to give photographers a way to shed light on specific social issues. The competition gathered more than 12,321 submissions from amateur and professional photographers all over the world.
'Young guns,' a powerful image of a group of Filipino children playing with dumpsite toy guns collected the most votes in the app, awarding its author @renebernal with a $1,000 cash prize.
Agora's CEO and Co-Founder said: "People who manage to be in the right place at the right time can become potential journalists for all Humanity. Through #Photojournalism2020, we aim to discover the best informative street photography images by people worldwide. Everyone owns a camera and can create interesting content. Everyone has a screen in their hands, where they can see content and vote for what they like the most. At Agora, we feel that the time has come for people all across the globe to become the main protagonists: the result is the very best expression of humankind, in different themes, shapes, and formats. We believe that every point of view is important and that our mission is to generate a platform where users can create and vote for the best photos of Humanity."
The #Photojournalism2020 photography contest was launched on Friday 22nd, November 2019. The Top 50 finalists of the #Photojournalism2020 competition got revealed through the app on December 31st. Thereafter, the power was in the Agora users' hands to cast their votes and decide which photo struck them the most, and therefore should win the #Photojournalism2020 contest.
Discover the winning photography awards image and runners-up below, and don't forget to upvote your favorites!
More info: agoraimages.com
Young Guns (Winning Photo)
Location: Metro Manila, Philippines
A self-taught Filipino photographer @renebernal shot this staggering photo in a dumpster in San Dionisio, a district located in the southern part of Metro Manila. His photo collected the most votes on the Agora app and won him a $1,000 cash prize.
"Everywhere in the world, children are increasingly exposed to guns, whether real ones or just toys, causing much worry to parents and the community in general. I was amazed to see these children who were playing in a dumpsite located right in the middle of Paranaque City. They were totally oblivious to the hazards of their recreation. Indeed, a poignant reminder of how these children are able to find ways to enjoy their childhood, even in the most distressing environments. I feel so lucky and happy to have won this contest as I would like to use this prize money towards my daughters' education and will donate part of it to the less fortunate children living in the slums. Discovering Agora gave me a chance to showcase my art and hopefully inspire others. I am very grateful for Agora that enables us to hear other people’s stories through photos."
A Soldier And His Son Before Leaving For Duty
"I was so moved by this interaction between a father and his son. The child didn't want to leave his dad. The soldier took something out of his bag to give his son in order to make him feel better. If I win, I want to use the prize as a contribution to my wedding and donate the rest to my local orphanage."
Location: Dhaka, Bangladesh
"This homeless woman lives in the streets of Dhaka. Sadly, this is the most comfortable spot she could find to get some rest."
Location: Ypres, Belgium
"I think this shot really expressed the stupid thing about war. I want to create a sad feeling for the viewer. Those fallen soldiers have sacrificed their youth for our future. Some people should actually show more respect for the soldiers of the Great War. We must always remember them."
Location: Mandalay, Myanmar
"The daily life of street children in Myanmar, in a dirty and dangerous environment. If I get to win the Contest, I will donate my prize to them."
La Culpa No Era Mía (The Fault Wasn’t Mine)
Location: Monterrey, Mexico
"These students were protesting at their university, accusing some teachers and fellow students for sexual harassment that went unpunished. This student is explaining that the reasons why women are violated do not matter. I want to transmit the fight that we, women, have to live nowadays against physical and emotional violence in a society that imposes roles without reason. This photo documents a moment in history when women are fighting for their place in society as human beings, it shows how women today raised their voices to say: no more."
"I wanted to portray the joy of freedom of the LGBT community after the Supreme Court of India decriminalized homosexuality by declaring Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code unconstitutional. There were more than 200 members from the community on that pride walk. It was quite an overwhelming experience for me to witness something I have never done before. I think photojournalism is a genre that should be completely blunt and honest. It should spread an awareness worldwide."
"A homeless mother was standing on the ruins of her dwelling place and looking for a new destiny. During the remapping of tribal bordering, many buildings were demolished by the local administration. Thus, a large number of tribal people became homeless."
Location: Barcelona, Spain
"This protest march was set against the imprisonment of the pro-independence politicians. It shows a massive march demanding the reconstruction of a country with the Sagrada Família in the background, one of the symbols of Barcelona and Catalonia, under construction."
Location: Lahore, Pakistan
"It was Pakistan's Independence Day celebrations: everybody was happy and enjoying this day. Then, I saw this father and son suffering from polio. I was amazed to see that a father can't leave his son alone in unhappy situations of loneliness at home. He brought out his son outside to celebrate just like any other citizen. His love for his son made me cry, I cropped his head on the photo because I'm not able to display this kind of painful emotions."
March For Our Lives
Location: San Francisco, USA
Heart Of Fire
Location: Caracas, Venezuela
"It was a dangerous scene. Venezuela was in a difficult and aggressive situation. A lot of people died in those protests. Journalists were targeted all the time, not easy. I did that job for my country. I am an artist, but I stopped my art to give my best as a journalist to Venezuela and the world."
Flood And Life
by @momin21a (Bangladesh)
Location: Jamuna river under Shirajganj District, Bangladesh
"Southern regions of Bangladesh go flooded every year because of climate change. More than 3 million people have been affected by floods, during 20 days in 21 districts."
Location: Melhus, Norway
"This is a normal day at work for the Norwegian search and rescue services. Training situation hoisting over the Norwegian mountains. Often the preferred way of access when the helicopter can’t land. This was a nice day, but that’s not the case every day. I was hoisted down with my kit on a nearby ridge before the rescue swimmer started his training procedure. I had to crawl in deep snow to get the right angle of light for this scene."
Two Firefighters Stopping As A Tree Candles In Front Of Them While On A Patrol
Location: British Columbia, Canada
"After a long day, starting at 7 am, we went on a patrol at roughly 6 pm along a section of the fire's perimeter to make sure that the fire had not jumped the guard and continue to burn the untouched forest. While walking an area candles up in front of us, after a brief pause, we kept on going. 5 minutes later we looked behind and the area we were walking was black with smoke. We then received news that the fire had jumped the guard higher up. After hiking roughly and hour up what can only be described as a steep hill we made it to join the others help extinguish the area of the fire. At 9 pm we finished up making it back to base camp at 10 pm ready for supper and another 7 am start. Climate change is one of the biggest issues we face, with a huge percentage of wildfires being man-made, it is vital to spread the word and understanding on just how dangerous wildfires are to those who live in areas of the world with high heat and humidity. Being from the UK where wildfire is extremely uncommon and my lack of knowledge and understanding, to then experience working in the industry fighting fires is eye-opening."
1 vs. 1
"Due to the social crisis in Venezuela, my way of protesting is to inform through photojournalism. In this photo, you can tell the difference between the armed national guard officer and the protester defending himself only with a wooden shield."
Child Playing In Her Parents' Merchandise
Location: Lampung, Indonesia
"The story behind the photo is about a kid who isn't playing with her friends at home or outdoors, instead she is just playing with anything she can find in her parents' shop because she needs to be there every day."
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia
"This worker sat in front of the police line during the International Workers Day march, demanding proper welfare for workers."
by @marcelvanbalken (Netherlands)
Location: Madrid, Spain
Women's Protest | Legal Abortion
Location: Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina
"I wanted to show the strength and power that women gather when they get together. I think that legal abortion in Argentina is one of the biggest claims in Latino America."
by @notsotoya (Lebanon)
Location: Beirut, Lebanon
"What's happening now in Lebanon is necessary to document since our TV stations are biased and do not portray the reality of the people in the streets. This is why I took personal initiative to always be on the streets photo-documenting to portray the closest image to reality. Warlords are now controlling the fate of Lebanese citizens. From 29 years till now the country has been economically deteriorating under the absence of the Lebanese government. The woman in the picture is the embodiment of our economy and her tears shed as she witnessed the revolt that the people took to the streets in hope of a better country."
Location: Caracas, Venezuela
"In this shot, you can see Willy, a demonstrator who got shot in the face with rubber bullets by the national guard. Willy was playing the violin when he was shot. Like Robert Capa once said, if your photo isn’t good enough it's because you are not getting close enough; in this photo, I managed to capture the stressful moment of a person still in shock by the situation that just happened."
Refugees In Barcelona
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Devotees Return Home
Location: Dhaka, Bangladesh
"Took this shot at Dhaka's airport railway station during Biswa Ijtema, the second largest congregation of Muslim community after Hajj. Every compartment of the train along with the engine was overloaded!"
Neighborhood Protest Against Mining Waste In Land Near Their Houses
Location: Llano del Beal, Spain
"The people in the photo are environmentalists and families that live nearby the mining heap lands. I wanted to express the pain of these people through a staged photo. The population where they live is surrounded by mining sediments, resulting in high blood lead levels."
Gilets Jaunes Protest
Location: Tours, France
Fire @ Kolkata
Location: Bagree market, Kolkata, India
"Firefighters trying to douse the fire at the Bagree Market by risking their lives and rescuing people. The market is located in the congested area of the city."
Location: Pyinoolwin balloon festival, Myanmar
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
"During the month of Muharram, elaborate public processions are performed in commemoration of the Battle of Karbala. Thousands of people participate in these commemorations in different provinces and the suffering of the people is as fresh as the first day."
Note: this post originally had 50 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.