OCTOBER 19 2009 16:57h
Klamar, AFP's photographer covering central Europe, charmed the jury with the "surprising and unusual composition" of his picture.
AFP photographer Joe Klamar won the Picture of the Year award at the Czech Press Photo 2009 contest with a photo of US President Barack Obama taken during his visit to Prague in April, the organisers said Monday.
An international jury selected a picture of Obama giving a speech as he gazed at the statue of the first Czechoslovak president Tomas Garrigue Masaryk (1850-1937), with the city skyline in the background hidden in fog.
Klamar, AFP's photographer covering central Europe, charmed the jury with the "surprising and unusual composition" of his picture that "symbolises an encounter of past hopes -- President Masaryk -- and the radical changes of the present -- the election of the first black US president."
The photograph -expresses a new hope for the contemporary world- the jury said in a press release.
Klamar also won the top prize in the category "People in the News"
Jury member Ruth Eichhorn, art director of GEO magazine, said the picture was "emblematic, one that everyone will immediately remember."
Klamar, 44, also won the top prize in the category "People in the News" with pictures from Obama's visit, the second place in "Sports" with a photo from a ski-jumping event, and an honourable mention in the category of "Stories" with a series from a Sri Lanka refugee camp.
Cizek, 30, also earned honourable mentions in the same category with black-and-white pictures of an extreme-right rally, and in the "People in the News" category with pictures of Czech President Vaclav Klaus.
A total of 281 photographers took part in the contest
Cizek also won a special prize for a photo of a Japanese ski-jumper, taken during the Nordic skiing World Championships in the Czech Republic this year.
A total of 281 photographers took part in the contest with 4,310 pictures.
The best photographs will be displayed at Prague's Old Town Hall from November 17 to January 31, and the winners will receive the prizes from Klaus at a ceremony on November 16.