They say a picture is worth a thousand words — with that in mind the world's violence in its many forms dominated the front pages of newspapers globally last year.

Following 2017, the World Press Photo Foundation has created a shortlist of the most powerful photos taken last year. The six images chosen will go up for the top award.

An Irish freelancer for the New York Times took two of the top six pictures. Both shots were captured in Iraq and focused on civilians as government forces fought Isis (Islamic State) in and around Mosul.

Civilians who stayed in west Mosul after the battle to take the city line up for aid in the Mamun neighbourhood. Photo / Ivor Prickett
Civilians who stayed in west Mosul after the battle to take the city line up for aid in the Mamun neighbourhood. Photo / Ivor Prickett

Ronaldo Schemidt photographed a Venezuelan protester engulfed in fire. Schemidt's photo was part of a series documenting the street protests against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas last May.

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Patrick Brown was also shortlisted for the heartbreaking photograph of Rohingya refugees who drowned as they tried to reach safety in Bangladesh.

"In some way, I'd prefer to be nominated for one of the many other images I've taken over the course of 2017," he said, "images that tell a story that's a little less horrible."

After being kidnapped by Boko Haram, Aisha was assigned a suicide-bombing mission, but managed to escape and find help instead of detonating the bombs.

Aisha (14) stands for a portrait in Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria. Photo / Adam Ferguson
Aisha (14) stands for a portrait in Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria. Photo / Adam Ferguson

Toby Melville, a British photographer, received a nod for a photograph of a passerby comforting an injured woman in the London attacks back in March 2017.

New York Times freelance photographer Adam Ferguson, who shot portraits of Boko Haram survivors in Nigeria, also claimed a spot.

A boy who had been carried by an Isis suspect in Mosul is cared for by Iraqi forces. Photo / Ivor Prickett
A boy who had been carried by an Isis suspect in Mosul is cared for by Iraqi forces. Photo / Ivor Prickett
A passerby comforts a woman after Khalid Masood drove into pedestrians in London. Photo / Toby Melville
A passerby comforts a woman after Khalid Masood drove into pedestrians in London. Photo / Toby Melville
Bodies of Rohingya refugees after a boat capsized near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo / Patrick Brown
Bodies of Rohingya refugees after a boat capsized near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo / Patrick Brown

The results of the competition will be announced in April.