A woman comforts a relative—and seems to bring Michelangelo's "Pietà" heartrendingly to life—during October protests against Yemen's then president. The photograph, taken by Samuel Aranda for the New York Times, was named the World Press Photo of the Year for 2011 on Friday.
"The winning photo shows a poignant, compassionate moment, the human consequence of an enormous event, an event that is still going on," jury chair Aidan Sullivan, of Getty Images, said in a statement. "We might never know who this woman is, cradling an injured relative, but together they become a living image of the courage of ordinary people that helped create an important chapter in the history of the Middle East."
Jury member Joel Sartore told National Geographic News, "Most, if not all, of the judges also liked the fact that the photo showed the consequences of war in a compassionate way. It is hopeful. It shows one human being taking care of another human being.
"It's a simple picture that spoke to us on a lot of levels, and we were really moved by it," said Sartore, a contributing photographer for National Geographic magazine. (The National Geographic Society owns both National Geographic magazine and National Geographic News.)
The World Press Photo Contest is the world's largest annual news-photography contest. For 2011 an international team of judges evaluated 101,254 images from 5,247 individual photographers of 124 nationalities.