Nissen took the winning photograph on an assignment in Brazil in which he portrayed the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on life in some of the South American country’s hardest-hit areas.
The photograph shows Rosa Luzia Lunardi (85) and nurse Adriana Silva da Costa Souza at Viva Bem care home, São Paulo, Brazil, on August 5th 2020.
The two people holding are each other while wearing face masks and separated by a plastic sheet.
Nissen, who works as a staff photographer for newspaper Politiken, has now won the international award twice.
“To me, this is a story about hope and love in the most difficult times. When I learned about the crisis that was unfolding in Brazil and the poor leadership of president Bolsonaro who has been neglecting this virus from the very beginning, who’s been calling it ‘a small flu,’ I really felt an urge to do something about it,” Nissen commented via the World Press Photo website.
World Press Photo jury member Kevin WY Lee said the “iconic image of COVID-19 memorializes the most extraordinary moment of our lives, everywhere.”
“I read vulnerability, loved ones, loss and separation, demise, but, importantly, also survival—all rolled into one graphic image. If you look at the image long enough, you’ll see wings: a symbol of flight and hope,” Lee said via the award’s website.
The annual World Press Photo contests reward visual journalism and digital storytelling.