The annual photo award, which awards the winner with a prize of 10,000 Euros ($11,300), is decided by a jury of photojournalists and photographers and the winner was announced this past Thursday, April 11, at a ceremony in Amsterdam.
The famous photo of a two-year-old girl crying while her mother was being body-searched was captured near the US-Mexico border in Texas last year and it has won the prestigious World Press Photo Of The Year Award. The annual photo award, which awards the winner with a prize of 10,000 Euros ($11,300), is decided by a jury of photojournalists and photographers and the winner was announced this past Thursday, April 11, at a ceremony in Amsterdam. The winning image, titled Crying Girl on the Border was taken by Getty photographer and Pulitzer Prize-winner John Moore on June 12 near McAllen, Texas, according to CNN.
"The winner of the 2019 World Press Photo of the Year is US photographer John Moore with his image Crying Girl on the Border. The photo also won the 1st prize in the... https://t.co/npcLTSWgzZ— Quantum Mechanic (@Quantum02861292) April 13, 2019
Most people were quick to recognize the photo after it quickly became the face of Donald Trump's highly controversial 'zero tolerance' immigration policy. The photograph is that of a Honduran mother and child being stopped by U.S. border officials in McAllen. They had rafted along with other people across the Rio Grande. The agents there were body-searching people before they could be put into vans and taken to a processing center.
The winning photo, “Crying Girl on the Border”, draws the story of a traumatized Honduran child by cruelty and abuse on the US- Mexico Border, while her mother, a Honduran asylum-seeker, is detained by U.S. border agents. This indeed amounts to a... https://t.co/Zs4IMjlwzj— Rana El Houjeiri (@RanaElHoujeiri) April 13, 2019
Moore took the award-winning photograph just as Sandra Sanchez set her two-year-old daughter, Yanela Sanchez, down so that she could be searched by the agents. The toddler started crying as her mother was being searched. "One of the last people to get on the bus was the mother of this child and her daughter together," Moore revealed to CNN in an interview, as he spoke about his photograph.
It should have. That poor toddler standing there so distraught with a grown man doing nothing to comfort the child. What kind of man could that be? And it shows in one... https://t.co/NEiZctmSLW— VBoDC (@VBoDC) April 13, 2019
"And when they went to body-search (the mother) against the vehicle, they asked her to put down her child. And right then, at that moment, the little girl broke into tears." He continued, "It's not unusual for toddlers in any circumstance to have separation anxiety. But I think this particular situation with the separation of families leads and gives a new meaning to that phrase." As kids, we are told to be scared by cops and the toddler was probably scared at the sight of people in uniforms.
“As a #photojournalist, my job is to inform & report what is happening, but I also think it is important to humanize an issue that is often reported in statistics.”— Annett Grimm 📝 (@_AGrimm) April 12, 2019
His "Crying Girl at the Border” between Mexico & USA is #WorldPressPhoto of the year. #WPPh2019 pic.twitter.com/lZLekhyIrQ
Speaking after his win, Moore was quoted saying, "I think this image touched many people's hearts, as it did mine because it humanizes a larger story. When you see Yanela's face, and she is more than two years old now, you really see the humanity and the fear of making such a long journey and crossing a border in the dead of night." Not many people seemed to see eye to eye with the story behind the photograph, though.
The crying girl on the magazine’s cover wasn’t separated from her mom at the border. 2,300 other children were. It's what that photo represents. Focus on those 2,300+ children. Do something. #EndFamilyDetention #EndFamilySeparation #KeepFamiliesTogether @womensmarch @WM_Global— Women's March Canada 🇨🇦 (@WomensMarchCDA) June 30, 2018
Kathy Gerard took to Facebook to comment: I wonder how many times she had cried when her mother took her on that long long walk, probably going without food, not getting proper baths, tired, sore. When her mother had to have known this was going to happen. Just another case where the news wants to control our thinking. Jeannette Johnson said: The mother and Photographer both were mad Time magazine and the media were untruthful about this picture. The mother put the child down to be searched, nothing different in any other situation, and was immediately picked back up within a minute. The little girl was NEVER separated from her mother! I applaud the photographer for doing a segment on one of the 60 min type shows and exposing the lie himself.
🇺🇸How about this! Let’s just get the story straight the first time! 🔹The crying girl in the story was NOT separated from her mother!🔹The shelters for the children at the border are like dorms.🔹There are no cages—those were from the Obama Administration.@POTUS 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/vbwG6PtP83— 🇺🇸Angel🇺🇸 (@36Angeldb) June 25, 2018
Taking that photograph was not easy for Moore. There was more to it that could be expressed in a photograph. “This one was tough for me. As soon as it was over, they were put into a van. I had to stop and take deep breaths,” Moore told TIME, describing his reaction to the scene of a two-year-old Honduran girl crying as her mother was being detained in McAllen, Texas. “All I wanted to do was pick her up. But I couldn’t.”
By the way, little crying girl was torn from her father and siblings. Was crying because she was tired and thirsty. Is this tearing away ok? Because they check at the border to make sure kids are not being smuggled. And little crying girl is a perfect example.— KimPlorable (@sturbe_d) June 24, 2018
Moore's photograph was widely published as there was a fierce public debate last year about the Trump administration's immigration policies. The policies effectively separated children from adults after they crossed the US border from Mexico. Basically, children could not follow adults into custody, so according to the US guidelines, the children had to be separated from their parents or their guardians, whoever it is with whom they crossed the borders with.
Ah man, it turns out the crying girl in that one viral photo wasn’t separated from her mother when they were jailed. Everyone has to admit what’s going on at the border is good now. Also that Trump is good— Patrick Monahan (@pattymo) June 22, 2018
A different photo of the same girl taken by Moore himself, where the girl was crying and gazing upwards, was used as Time's cover image. In the picture, a towering Trump looms over the weeping child. "Welcome to America," the illustration reads. Later that month, Trump signed an executive order reversing the policy to separate children from adults. However, it did not specify what would happen to the 2,300 children who were detained without the parents who crossed the borders with them.