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An atmospheric image of a gay couple in Russia by Danish photographer Mads Nissen has been named the World Press Photo of the Year 2014.
The intimate image of Jon and Alex is part of a larger project by Nissen called “Homophobia in Russia” that highlights how life is increasingly difficult for sexual minorities in Russia.
Nissen says he sees the image, shot in St. Petersburg, as “a modern-day Romeo and Juliet story” about two people in love but facing outside forces who want to deny them their feelings.
Contest organizers also criticized the large number of photos submitted for the prestigious awards that had been subjected to too much manipulation, saying they rejected 20 percent of images that reached the penultimate round of judging.