The World Press Photo winner last year made me wonder whether the competition is moving towards a new phase, less political, less charged and beautifying drama a bit less. This year’s winning photo confuses me completely. Not because it’s not so political and not so filled with connotations as the previous winners, but because the photo doesn’t speak for itself at all. Without reading a caption and without reading about why it was chosen, it is just an artistic portrayal of two people doing something, not really clear what. The photo is part of a larger project called Homophobia in Russia and I bet that when seen in context it does makes sense. But by itself, it doesn’t say much. Besides this, for the first time in the history of the competition, I look at the winner and don’t even see the ‘press’ in World Press Photo.
All posts tagged World Press Photo
There are three issues I am critical about when I look at photojournalism. One is making suffering look aesthetically pleasing and pretty. Even if contextualized well, such photos contribute to a visual imaginary that’s distorted. And I have an ethical problem with that.
Last weekend I went to the World Press Photo Awards Days. The Sem Presser lecture this year was held by ‘veteran’ wildlife photographer Michael “Nick” Nichols. And for the first time, the beautiful-too-beautiful-to-be-true wildlife photography I usually see in National Geographic, got a new human dimension. Got a context. And a face.
This year’s World Press Photo winner is Spanish photographer Samuel Aranda and his picture of a Yemeni mother holding her son, wounded during protests against president Saleh. After winning the award, the photo was subject to a lot of debate and criticism, mainly because its composition has been likened to Michelangelo’s Pieta and also because of its Renaissance style of lighting.