Top award for Eric Luke


An Irish Times photographer, Eric Luke, has won an award in the World Press Photo of the Year. His photograph of the funeral of Mother Teresa of Calcutta will now be included in a travelling exhibition which will be seen in 35 countries.

The winning photograph was by the Algerian photographer, Hocine, published by Agence France Press, entitled Woman Grieves after Massacre in Bentalha. The power of Hocine's picture has been credited with focusing attention on political violence in Algeria.

The jury gave awards in 18 categories to photographers from 18 countries. The winners were chosen from 38,041 pictures taken by 3,627 photographers.

Mr Luke, sent to Calcutta by The Irish Times last September, said he and a French photographer were separated from the rest of the media outside Mother House, where the remains of Mother Teresa were to be buried.

Mr Luke and the French photographer entered a derelict building and climbed to the roof. From there they crossed a wooden ladder to another building which gave them a view of the courtyard. "The rest of the media could see nothing and were totally blocked off."

To take the photograph, Mr Luke used a 200mm lens and an 800 ASA film as the light was low. The shot was taken at one 250th of a second at f4.

The World Press Photo awards are the most prized in international professional photography.