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Three AFP photographers win prizes at POYi 2020

Three AFP photographers have won prizes in the 78th edition of the Pictures of the Year International (POYi), the world’s oldest photo prize.


Hector Retamal: First place in Spot News


Hector Retamal, a Chilean photographer based in Shanghai, has won another prize for his coverage of the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic in Wuhan. He returned several times to the city in 2020 as it slowly returned to normal life.

The iconic image that won first Spot News shows a man lying dead on the pavement as two emergency workers stand by.

"The image of the corpse of this old man lying on the pavement and the agitation around it came to symbolise the Covid-19 crisis."


30/01/2020 - WUHAN, CHINA - This photo taken on January 30, 2020 shows officials in protective suits checking on an elderly man wearing a facemask who collapsed and died on a street near a hospital in Wuhan. © HECTOR RETAMAL / AFP


Born in Peñaflor in Chile on 15 September 1975, Hector Retamal has been a photographer with AFP since 2012. He joined the agency in San José, Costa Rica then spent five years in Haiti where he notably covered the cholera outbreak. He has been based in Shanghai since 2019.

He recounts his experience covering the pandemic in Four Seasons in Wuhan in the AFP Correspondent blog.




Roberto Schmidt: First place in the category Impact 2020: Protests and Movements


German-Colombian photographer Roberto Schmidt, won first prize in the category Impact 2020 : Protests and Movements for his coverage of the Black Lives Matter protests.


02/06/2020 - WASHINGTON, ETATS-UNIS - A woman shouts at a line of policemen standing near a metal fence recently erected in front of Lafayette Square near the White House to keep protestors at bay on June 2, 2020. Protesters returned to the area after they were tear gassed on June 1, 2020, to open the way for US President Donald Trump to walk to the church for a photo-op. © ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP


Long-time Agence France-Presse photojournalist, Roberto Schmidt, who is currently based in Washington, DC, joined AFP's Miami bureau in 1989.

He most recently covered the insurrection at the US Capitol, the Black Lives Matter protests in Washington and the Joe Biden presidential campaign.

Before moving to Washington, Roberto had a long career as a photographer and then as chief photographer for AFP in East Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia.

He has covered such diverse stories as the war on drugs in Colombia and the hunt for drug lord Pablo Escobar, famine in warn torn Somalia and the armed conflict in eastern Congo.

He is a three-time winner of the prestigious Word Press Photo, twice winning second place in the Spot News Stories category for the post-election violence coverage in Kenya in 2007, and again in 2016 for his coverage of a massive avalanche at Everest Base Camp that killed over 20 people, as well as an honourable mention in 2003 in the Sports Singles category for an action shot by Brazilian striker Ronaldinho at the 2002 World Cup.



Saul Loeb: Second place in the category Impact 2020: Election Season


Based in Washington to cover the White House, US politics and major national and international news , Saul Loeb won second prize in the POYi 2020 category Impact 2020: Election Season for his image Lightning in Chief taken as lightning streaked across the sky while President Donald Trump descended the steps from Air Force One.


29/08/2020 - JOINT BASE ANDREWS, ETATS-UNIS - US President Donald Trump disembarks from Air Force One as lightning splits the sky during a storm at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, August 28, 2020. © SAUL LOEB / AFP


Saul has carried out coverages in 75 countries on six continents and been awarded for his work by the White House News Photographers Association and the POYi.

He obtained a degree in journalism and political science from the University of Arizona in 2004. He was editor-in-chief of the university’s newspaper Arizona Daily Wildcat that has a circulation of 17,000. After freelancing for several years in Arizona he moved to Washington where he worked as an intern for two summers at Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Service.

His images have appeared in national media in the United States and around the world.



Hector Retamal, Roberto Schmidt and Saul Loeb follow AFP photographers Nicolas Asfouri, Yasuyoshi Chiba and Jeff Pachoud who won prizes in last year’s edition of the POYi.



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