Photo of the week: ‘Threat, fear… and hope’


A jury unanimously chose an image of the vigil for Julie Van Espen in the News category of the annual Nikon Press Photo Awards

Emotionally loaded

Wouter Van Vooren has won this year’s Nikon Press Photo award for his moving image of a memorial to Julie Van Espen.

Van Espen, a 23-year-old student from Schilde, Antwerp province, was murdered in May 2019. The photo above was taken at a vigil in Merksem, where she was killed. Around 3,000 people attended the vigil, carrying white roses and candles and beaming light from their phones. Thousands more later took part in silent marches to protest against sexual violence towards women.

The jury unanimously chose Van Vooren’s photo as the winner in the News category. “The setting, the perspective… everything is right. Threat, fear, but also hope: this photo is emotionally loaded,” they said. Van Vooren, from Lievegem, East Flanders, was among 79 professional press photographers who entered the 13th edition of the Belgian competition.

Photo: Wouter Van Vooren