(Image Credits: WorldPressPhoto/Twitter)
A heartwarming picture of an 85-year-old Brazilian woman receiving her first hug in five months from a nurse through a transparent "hug curtain" was declared the World Press Photo of the Year on April 15. The picture symbolised "love and compassion" during the time of the pandemic. The image was taken by a Danish photographer Mads Nissen on August 5, 2020.
In the picture, Rosa Luzia Lunardi was hugged by nurse Adriana Silva da Costa Souza at the Viva Bem care home in Sao Paulo on Aug. 5. A curtain of clear plastic with yellow edges folded into a shape resembling a pair of butterfly wings. Both the mask and plastic curtain offer protection to the women. The year 2020 was the year of pandemic and people had to follow various restrictions which included maintaining social distance from each other.
Just announced: the World Press Photo Foundation is proud to present the winner of the World Press Photo of the Year: ‘The First Embrace’ by Mads Nissen (@MadsNissenPhoto), @politiken/@panospictures! Discover the #WPPH2021 winning image: https://t.co/oSu2VbY8m4 pic.twitter.com/7oz37vRNBI— World Press Photo (@WorldPressPhoto) April 15, 2021
The choice of winning picture depicted the global pandemic as unavoidable. Mads Nissen in a comment released by content organizers said that the message of the picture is empathy which is love and compassion. The image taken by Nissen for the Panos Pictures agency and the Danish daily Politiken also won first prize in the contest’s General News Singles category. Jury member of World Press Photo Kevin WY Lee said that the picture depicted all the problems people faced during 2020. It showed vulnerability, loss and separation. The picture also portrayed the survival of the two humans with the plastic curtain. The plastic curtain has yellow wings that symbolise hope and flight.
This iconic image of COVID-19 memorializes the most extraordinary moment of our lives, everywhere, said Kevin.
I read vulnerability, loved ones, loss and separation, demise, but, importantly, also survival all rolled into one graphic image. If you look at the image long enough, you’ll see wings: a symbol of flight and hope, he added.