These Are The Most Powerful Images of 2015

Photos have the power to transform scenes from faraway places into intimate, emotional moments we can connect to on a human level.

Each year, the World Press Photo Foundation selects some of the most powerful images that informed and inspired people around the world. This year's winners were selected from 82,951 entries made by 5,775 photographers hailing from 128 different countries, according to the foundation.

This year's winner, Australian freelance photojournalist Warren Richardson, captured one of the biggest humanitarian crises in modern history in his photo titled "Hope for a New Life."

The image is of a man carefully passing a baby between a barbed-wire fence at the Hungarian-Serbian border in August. The mass exodus of refugees and migrants fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and North Africa and seeking better lives in Europe remains one of the biggest and most urgent stories of 2015 and today.

Ahead, more beautiful and arresting images from this year's contest.
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Photo: Warren Richardson.
A man passes a baby through the fence at the Serbia/Hungary border in Röszke, Hungary, August 28, 2015.

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Photo: Sergey Ponomarev/New York Times
Migrants and refugees arrived by boat in November near the village of Skala on the Greek island of Lesbos. Under Europe’s system of open internal borders, the island’s thinly patrolled, easily accessible coastline, within sight of the Turkish coast, might as well be the frontier of France or Germany or Sweden.

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Photo: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images
Chinese men pull a cart in a neighborhood next to a coal-fired power plant in Shanxi. A history of heavy dependence on burning coal for energy has made China the source of nearly a third of the world's total carbon dioxide emissions, the toxic pollutants widely cited by scientists and environmentalists as the primary cause of global warming.

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Photo: John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune
Lamon Reccord, left, scolds a police sergeant during a police violence protest and march at State and Randolph streets in Chicago, Wednesday, November 25, 2015.

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Photo: Mauricio Lima /New York Times
A doctor rubs ointment on the burns of Jacob, 16, in front of a poster of Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, at a YPG hospital compound on the outskirts of Hasakah. According to YPG fighters at the scene, Jacob is an ISIS fighter from Deir al-Zour and the only survivior from an ambush made by YPG fighters over a truck alleged to carry ISIS fighters on the outskirts of Hasakah. Six ISIS fighters died in the attack, five of them completely disfigured by the explosion.

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Photo: Chen Jie
An aerial view of the destruction after the explosion in Tianjin, China.

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Photo: Sameer Al-Doumy/AFP Photo
A wounded man walks out of a dust cloud following reported airstrikes in the town of Hamouria in the eastern Ghouta region, a rebel stronghold east of the Syrian capital Damascus, on December 9, 2015. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported at least 11 civilians, including four children, were killed in strikes, but said it was unclear if they were carried out by Russian or regime aircraft.

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Photo: Adriane Ohanesian
Adam Abdel, age 7, was badly burned when a bomb, dropped on February 12 by a Sudanese government’s Antonov plane, landed next to his family’s home in Burgu, Central Darfur, Sudan, February 27, 2015.

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Photo: Anuar Patjane Floriuk
Divers observe and surround a humpback whale and her newborn calf while they swim around Roca Partida in the Revillagigedo Islands, Mexico.

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Photo: Sara Naomi Lewkowicz
Although they hadn't planned it, partners Emily and Kate got pregnant within weeks of each other through artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization, respectively. Their sons were born within four days of each other, and the couple embraced the challenge of raising the two babies at once. Kate often kept Emily company while she took baths. Late in the pregnancy, particularly once Emily was overdue, she said that baths were one of the easiest ways to relax her body. Kate, who became pregnant three weeks later than Emily, showed less, and the two would often compare their baby bumps and talk to each other’s bellies.

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Photo: Sara Naomi Lewkowicz
Emily rubbed sleep out of her eyes while feeding Reid, as Kate held Eddie during a late night feeding. The two shared the responsibilities of late night feedings, but because Emily generally produced more breast milk than Kate, she often had to feed both babies while Kate pumped her milk.

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Photo: Dario Mitidieri
Portrait of a Syrian refugee family in a camp in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. The empty chair in the photograph represents a family member who has either died in the war or whose whereabouts are unknown.

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Photo: Mary F. Calvert
U.S. Army Spc. Natasha Schuette, 21, was pressured not to report being assaulted by her drill sergeant during basic training at Fort Jackson, SC. Though she was hazed by her assailant’s fellow drill instructors, she refused to back down and Staff Sgt. Louis Corral is now serving four years in prison for assaulting her and four other female trainees. The U.S. Army rewarded Natasha for her courage to report her assault and the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response & Prevention office distributed a training video featuring her story. She is now stationed at Fort Bragg, NC.

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Photo: Corentin Fohlen
Homeless veteran Darlene Matthews has been living in her car for over two years while she waits for a housing voucher from the VA. She joined the U.S. Army in 1976 and was sent to Fort McLellan, AL. She was beyond horrified when she discovered that it wasn't a safe place and instead full of "illegal punishments and all this sexual stuff; the whole atmosphere was abusive." Her life spiraled down after she got out of the military and found herself very depressed. She joined the military to escape a chaotic abusive home life and was forced back into it when she was discharged. She has been fighting with the VA for benefits including housing vouchers but has been living in her car in the parking lot of a mortuary next to a graveyard. "It's like being in a fun house and every door gets slammed in your face every time you try to leave. I feel like giving up sometimes, and nobody would care."

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Photo: David Guttenfelder/AP
A North Korean woman sits next to models of military weapons at a festival for the Kimilsungia and Kimjongilia flowers, named after the country's late leaders, in Pyongyang, Wednesday, July 24, 2013. The exhibition was held to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War on July 27.

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Photo: Corentin Fohlen
Demonstration against terrorism in Paris, after a series of five attacks occurred across the region, beginning at the headquarters for satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

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Photo: Zhang Lei/Tianjinn Daily
Tianjin, a city in northern China shrouded in haze.

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Photo: Rohan Kelly/Daily Telegraph
Sunbather oblivious to the ominous shelf cloud approaching Bondi Beach, Australia. A massive “cloud tsunami” looms over Sydney in a spectacular weather event seen only a few times a year. It rolled in from the sea, turning the sky almost black and bringing violent thunderstorms in its wake.

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Photo: Sergio Tapiro
Colima Volcano in Mexico shows a powerful night explosion with lightning and some incandescent rockfalls.

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Photo: Daniel Berehulak/New York Times
The aftermath of the April 25 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal: Residents forage through their destroyed homes, gathering salvageable belongings.

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Photo: Matic Zorman
A child refugee is covered with a rain poncho while she waits in line to get registered in Presevo refugee registration camp. Most of the refugees who crossed Serbia try to continue their route toward Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, and other countries of the European Union.

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Photo: Matjaz Krivic
A mine worker takes a smoke break before going back into the pit. Miners in Bani, Burkina Faso face harsh conditions and exposure to toxic chemicals and heavy metals.

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Photo: Daniel Ochoa de Olza/AP
Young girls between the age of 7 and 11 are chosen every year as "Maya" for the Las Mayas, a festival derived from pagan rites celebrating the arrival of spring in the town of Colmenar Viejo, Spain. The girls are required to sit still in a decorated altar for a couple of hours.

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Photo: Christian Walgram/GEPA Pictures
Czech Republic's Ondrej Bank crashes during the downhill race of the Alpine Combined at the FIS World Championships in Beaver Creek, CO.

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Photo: Greg Nelson/Sports Illustrated
During the NCAA 2015 Men's Basketball Tournament game with Wichita State vs. Indiana, Ron Baker shoots over Nick Zeisloft, while Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Rashard Kelly battle for position at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, NE.

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Photo: Mauricio Lima/Al Jazeera America
Indigenous Munduruku children play in the Tapajós river in the tribal area of Sawre Muybu, Itaituba, Brazil. The tribesmen of the Munduruku, who for centuries have sanctified the Tapajós River on which their villages sit, are fighting for survival. Brazil’s government plans to flood much of their land to build a $9.9 billion hydroelectric dam, the Sao Luiz do Tapajó.

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Photo: Nancy Borowick
Howie sits beside his wife Laurel in what he calls their “his and hers” chairs as they get their weekly chemotherapy treatments. A daughter photographs her own parents who were in parallel treatment for stage-four cancer, side-by-side. The project looks at love, life, and living, in the face of death. It honors their memory by focusing on their strength and love, both individually and together, and shares the story of their final chapters, within a year of each other.

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Photo: Brent Stirton/Getty Images for National Geographic
Rangers exhibit their riding skills as they return to Zakouma National Park after weeks on elephant patrol. The image is part of a series portraying the armed groups that profit most from the illegal ivory trade and the people at the frontline of the war against them, as well as others affected. In the case of the specific armed groups, the sale of ivory benefits the Lord’s Resistance Army, The Seleka Rebels of Central African Republic, the Janjaweed of Sudan and the F.D.L.R rebels who base themselves inside Virunga National Park in the DRC.

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Photo: Brent Stirton/Getty Images for National Geographic
A container filled with tons of illegal ivory. Togo is seen as a new opportunity by ivory smugglers with its new deep water port. Yet, customs officers with new container scanning technology have made the efforts of these smugglers more difficult.

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Photo: Francesco Zizola/Noor
Libyan migrants being rescued by the international medical relief organization Doctors Without Borders in the Mediterranean Sea: After spending two days and two nights on the deck of the Doctors Without Borders search-and-rescue ship Bourbon Argos, rescued migrants — still wrapped in their emergency blankets — catch sight of the Italian coast for the first time soon after dawn.

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Photo: Kazuma Obara
"My mother said that it was a typically quiet day, warm and windy. She and my father opened the window and they felt completely safe on the day of the explosion, the 26th of April, 1986." The world’s worst nuclear accident happened on April 26, 1986 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Just five months after the disaster, a girl was born in Kiev just 100 km south. The wind included a great amount of radioactive elements, and the girl became one of the victims of the tragedy. This series of pictures represent the last 30 years of the life of that invisible girl. All pictures taken on old Ukrainian color negative films, which were found in the city of Pripyat, located 5 km from the plant.

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Photo: Vladimir Pesnya/Sputnik
Players of an amateur hockey team in provincial Russia were documented before, during and after a game in the regional championship in Vetluga, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Russia.

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