Unpublished freelancer's shot wins contest

Australian freelancer Warren Richardson took this shot, ​lit only by moonlight, on Aug. 28, 2015, while covering the refugee crisis in Europe. 

He said he offered it to two news organizations, neither of which responded.

Jury members for the 2016 World Press Photo Contest saw something special in the black and white image, which also won first prize in the spot news category.

Listen to the judges explain their selection

 

Europe's refugee crisis a major theme among this year's winners

The World Press Photo Contest annually honours the photographer best able to produce a picture that captures an event or issue of great journalistic importance in the previous year. 

World Press Photo 2016 General News 1st prize stories winner migrant crisis by Sergey Ponomarev

First prize in the general news category went to Sergey Ponomarev for this image of refugees landing in the village of Skala, on the Greek island of Lesbos, on Nov. 16. (Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times)

World Press Photo 2016 2nd place general news winner by Paul Hansen

Swedish photographer Paul Hansen's photo of refugees coming ashore on Lesbos at night on Dec. 6, won second prize in the general news category. (Paul Hansen/Dagens Nyheter)

Canadian Kevin Frayer won in 2 categories

Frayer, who is from Winnipeg but now lives in Asia, won first prize in the daily life category for this shot of a Chinese coal worker, as well as second place in the daily life 'stories' category for a series on the Tibetan Dharma festival, which included the image below.

2015 photos of the year Nov 26 China smog Shanxi coal fired plants

Canadian Kevin Frayer's series on China's coal addiction features this image of men pulling a tricycle next to a coal-fired power plant in Shanxi. It was taken on Nov. 26. (Kevin Frayer/Getty)

World Press 2016 winner Kevin Frayer Tibet

Frayer's photo of Tibetan Buddhists taking part in the annual Bliss Dharma Assembly, shot on Oct. 30, won second place in the daily life category. (Kevin Frayer/Getty)

Frontline coverage in Syria was honoured...

AFP PICTURES OF THE YEAR 2015-SYRIA-CONFLICT

Abd Doumany's series on children wounded in the besieged Syrian city of Douma placed second in the general news category. This photo of a bandaged girl in a makeshift hospital was taken on Aug. 22. (Abd Doumany/AFP)

World Press Photo 2016 1st prize general news singles injured IS fighter by Mauricio Lima

Brazilian photographer Mauricio Lima took this photograph of an injured 16-year-old ISIS fighter being treated in a Kurdish hospital on the outskirts of Hasaka, Syria, on Aug. 1. The photo won first prize in the general news category. (Mauricio Lima for The New York Times)

…along with images taken in the days following the April 25 earthquake in Nepal

World Press Photo 2016 winner Earthquake aftermath 3rd prize general news by Daniel Berehulak

Daniel Berehulak's coverage of the Nepal earthquake, which included this photo of villagers awaiting a medical drop in Gumda on May 9, won the Australian photographer third place in the general news category. (Daniel Berehulak)

World Press Photo 2016 2nd prize spot news Everest avalanche by Roberto Schmidt

German photographer Roberto Schmidt's series taken at Everest Base Camp around the April earthquake, including this shot of an avalanche, won second place in the spot news category. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP)

Winners in the long-term projects category included photos from North Korea…

World Press Photo 2016 3rd prize long term projects winner Cult of Kim by David Guttenfelder

American David Guttenfelder provided an insightful glimpse into life in the Hermit Kingdom in his series, the Cult of Kim, which won third prize in the long-term projects category. (David Guttenfelder/AP)

…and life inside Antarctic camps

World Press Photo 2016 daily life winner Antarctica by Daniel Berehulak

Berehulak, who also won in the general news category, took a first prize win for his look at daily life in Antarctic camps. Here, Benjam Maltzev, a Russian Orthodox priest, stands in the bell room of his church at the Bellingshausen Russian Antarctic research base on the Fildes Peninsula of King George Island, on Dec. 3. (Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times)

Top sports photos were taken in Siberia and on the slopes of Beaver Creek, Colo.

World Press Photo 2016 1st prize sports stories winner Vetlugas Hockey by Vladimir Pesnya

Russian photographer Vladimir Pesnya travelled to Siberia to cover players in an amateur hockey team on the road to the provincial championships. His photo won first in the sports category. (Vladimir Pesnya/Sputnik)

World Press Photo 2016 ski crash by Christian Walgram

Christian Walgram's shot of Czech downhiller Ondrej Bank in the moments before impacting the safety netting on the course in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Feb. 15, won the Austrian photographer first prize in the sports singles category. (Christian Walgram/GEPA pictures)

There was also a category for nature shots

World Press Photo nature winner 2016 Anuar Patjane Floriuk humpback

Mexican photographer Anuar Patjane Floriuk captured this ethereal black and white image of divers surrounding a humpback whale and her newborn calf in Mexico's Revillagigedo Islands, on Jan. 28. It earned him a second prize in the nature category. (Anuar Patjane Floriuk)

World Press Photo 2016 Nature winner Storm Front on Bondi Beach

Australian photographer Rohan Kelly caught this ominous cloud bank rolling towards Sydney's Bondi Beach on Nov. 6. It won first prize prize in the nature singles category. (Rohan Kelly for The Daily Telegraph)

This year's contest drew 82,951 images from 5,775 photographers in 128 countries.

Last year's competition was overshadowed by the disqualification of a winner over a breach of journalistic standards, as well as questions about the level of post processing acceptable in news images.

Mads Nissen's atmospheric image of a gay couple in Russia won the top prize for 2014.