So its that time of year again… when all the photojournalists I know are frantically reviewing their work to see whether they have a potential World Press Photo tucked away somewhere in their portfolio. And even if they don’t they will probably upload it onto the WPP site anyway… just because they can.
Which, when you consider the volume of images that the poor judges have to review in their quest to find the image that sums up the year in press photography gives new meaning to the old adage “You gotta be in it to win it”. With 5,691 photographers from 125 different nationalities submitting 108,059 photos it has got to be some kind of lottery…
So what makes a winning photo? What inspires, delights and touches us so much in the photographic medium that over 2 million people turn out to view the World Press Photo exhibition every year? David Friend the WPP Chair expresses his view here and you can see how the process of judging is conducted here
So while I don’t think today’s image will win the title of World Press Photo of the year I do believe that in accord with TIME magazine’s “Person Of The Year” that one of the prevailing images of 2011 is that of the “protestor”
This young girl stood her ground in Hyde Park in Sydney as part of the “Occupy” movement. Her face is shadowed by the outline of a police man who with his colleagues had just started arresting the protestors one by one. What struck me is her expression which is a cross between thoughtfulness and stoicism. This is the power of photojournalism. A photograph can capture those utterly integral feelings that are part of the atmosphere of any event, magnifying our own emotions and our responses to the imagery many-fold.
While many of my colleagues can have a cynical view of competitions such as World Press Photos and admittedly in the past I have questioned the make-up of the jury… I am glad to see this year there are many more women and a diverse ethnic mix of jurors…I would have to say there is still an argument to be had that the competition is even more relevant in these days of disappearing newspaper and magazine titles than ever before.
So what are your thoughts on such competitions as World Press Photos? Do these awards, reward the appropriate photographers and take the industry forward?