Zhang Lei

China

Chinese self-taught photographer Zhang Lei works for the Tianjin Daily, and is used to shooting something different every day. A shot he took of a cloud of smog hanging over the city he calls home won first prize in the Contemporary Issues category of the World Press Photo contest. WePresent spoke to Zhang about the capture as part of our annual collaboration with the contest. Zhang wanted his photo to show people in the west how bad the pollution was but it was also for the benefit of people in China who are numb to the situation: “I wanted to show there is still hope, if we act now. I wanted to show the blue sky to show what we can get back to if we all work together.”

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I focus on news photography. It’s exciting because you don’t know what you’ll shoot each day.