Published on November 20, 2013 | by Livvy Doherty

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World Press Photo 2013 at the Southbank Centre

Spectators viewing pictures at World Press Photo 2013 at the Southbank Centre.

Some of the world’s most arresting pictures from the last year are on display. [Aylin Elci]

★★★★★

World Press Photo 2013 at the Southbank Centre holds some of the most beautiful, moving and disturbing images I have seen in a long time.

This year more than 5,600 photographers from 124 countries have submitted more than 100,000 pictures.

One of the most notable collections for me was winner of the Contemporary Issues category Maika Elan, with The Pink Choice.

Elan documented different same-sex relationships in Vietnam, a country that “has historically been unwelcoming to same-sex couples”, according to the World Press Photo website.

Last year, however, the Vietnamese government announced it was considering recognising same-sex marriage, a move that would make it the first Asian country to do so.

Many images, especially in the contemporary issues and staged portraits categories, were incredibly harrowing.

Majid Saeedi’s Life in War, a collection of photos from Afghanistan was almost painful to look at.

Saeedi is an award-winning Iranian photographer who has worked throughout the Middle East, focusing on humanitarian issues with a special interest in telling previously untold stories of social injustice.

However, this just once again highlighted the ever-important need for photographers documenting such important issues.

Amongst the rubble of war-torn countries and the faces of suffering, there are also some incredible pictures of moments in sport and nature.

Winner of the Nature Stories category was Canadian photographer, Paul Nicklen and his crystal clear photos of emperor penguins in the Ross Sea, Antarctica.

I would recommend this exhibition to anyone. It is unfortunately spread across two foyers of the Royal Festival hall, nonetheless, the content cannot be faulted.

World Press Photo 2013 is free, and runs until November 26 at the Southbank Centre.

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