AP monthly staff photo contest

Each month, the Associated Press management honors photographers for outstanding photo coverage while on assignment. The winners for the December 2014 AP Staff Photo Contest are Mohammad Sajjad in the news category for his coverage of the Taliban School Attack and Manish Swarup in the features category for his essay, Disappearing Brass Bands. Congratulations to both photographers for their outstanding work. Below we feature some of the contest winning imagery. 


Taliban School Attack | Photos by Mohammad Sajjad

On December 16, 2014, nine gunmen affiliated with the Taliban conducted a terrorist attack on the Army Public School in northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. The militants, all of whom were foreign nationals, included one Chechen, three Arabs and two Afghans. They entered the school and opened fire on school staff and children, killing 145 people, including 132 school children, ranging between eight and eighteen years of age.


Disappearing Brass Bands | Photos by Manish Swarup

The wedding season is in full swing in India, marking what should be the busiest time of the year for the traditional brass bands that lead raucous processions announcing the arrival of the bridegroom to the bride's neighborhood, dressed in brilliant sequinned uniforms or long silken tunics and turbans. But the tastes of the young, wealthier Indians shift to more modern music, young couples increasingly choose DJs playing electronic music instead of live bands. The shift is leaving band owners and musicians struggling to find gigs, exacerbating an already difficult existence.  



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Nat Castañeda is an interdisciplinary visual artist based in Brooklyn, New York. A California native, Castañeda works primarily in video and collage, with an emphasis on tactile intimacy with her materials remaining an important aspect of all her projects. Common issues in Castañeda’s work are the conflating of iconography and pornography, the questioning of traditional gender binaries, and the role of technology within personal narratives. She received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts and has shown at venues such as El Museo del Barrio and Electronic Arts Intermix. In addition to her art practice, Castañeda currently works at The Associated Press where she leads a team that curates AP's online archive of historic and contemporary photojournalism. Castañeda’s photography has appeared in the New York Times,U.S. News & World Report and USA Today.