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Label: world press photo

Monday 29th February 2016A Torrent of Images Catches the AP and the WPP

Just last week we posted about the World Press Photo competition, and the hauntingly gritty winning photo by Warren Richardson of refugees sneaking under razorwire to cross borders in the dead of night. All congratulations to him, but there's been a bit of embarrassment in the rest of the contest, as one of the winners in the People category had to be removed by the submitter - the Associated Press, of all groups.

The photos in question won third prize in the People category, a series by Daniel Ochoa de Olza featuring victims of the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris during 2015. According to the Associated Press, the photo series was submitted in error, which is a strange sort of excuse considering they stood up long enough to pass through the jury pool and be voted a winner.

Weirdly enough, de Olza had actually also won the second prize in the same category, so it isn't nearly as much of a hardship for him as it might first seem. Managing director Lars Boering of the World Press Photo Foundation, the organization that hosts the WPP event each year, said in a statement:

“The jury had an abundance of quality photography to choose from in each category, and our processes are organized so we can accommodate an unforeseen circumstance—such as the withdrawal of a story by the owner of the entry. We are delighted to give the third-prize award to Magnus Wennman, a very worthy winner. We’re sorry that Daniel Ochoa de Olza’s third-prize award cannot stand given the request to withdraw the entry, but we’re happy that Daniel has also won second prize in the same category for his ‘La Maya Tradition’ story. I’ve spoken with Magnus and Daniel to congratulate both of them and we’re very pleased they can join us in April for the Awards Days.”

It does sort of beg the question of relevancy, however. Perhaps de Olza's photos really are so spectacular, but the fact that the same photographer can win consecutive prizes in the same category makes one wonder if the World Press Photo contest is receiving sufficient attention in terms of submissions, or if there is something influencing the judge's opinions. Either way, it's sort of an embarrassment for everyone involved in the jury and submissions process, and simply a bit disappointing for de Olza. Here's hoping that next year will have a more varied crop of winners!
 

Posted on February 29th 2016 on 05:38pm
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Friday 19th February 2016World Press Photo Winners

Another February is upon us, and aside from a dreary lack of sunlight and terrible weather, that also means that another edition of the annual World Press Photo Contest is upon us. In case you haven't heard of it before, the WPPC is an annual juried competition for photographers that has been running since the mid 1950s, highlighting the best photography that the world has to offer. As the name implies, it's largely focused on photojournalism, but when you consider the fact that every photography has its own story, the line between art and journalism begins to blur in a most enjoyable way.

This year's winner of the World Press Photo of the Year is Warren Richardson, for his eerily haunting photograph of refugees crossing under razorwire fence at the Hungary-Serbia border near Roszke, Hungary. The refugees were struggling to cross the border before the more complete and secure border fence construction was completed, making it a frantic struggle for hope and freedom. Regardless of how you feel about the refugee crisis facing Europe, the image is incredibly powerful.

Richardson, who is based in Budapest, Hungary, explains how he managed to capture the winning image, and why it isn't as crisply in focus as one might normally expect from a winner of such a prestigious competition.

"I camped with the refugees for five days on the border. A group of about 200 people arrived, and they moved under the trees along the fence line. They sent women and children, then fathers and elderly men first. I must have been with this crew for about five hours and we played cat and mouse with the police the whole night. I was exhausted by the time I took the picture. It was around three o’clock in the morning and you can’t use a flash while the police are trying to find these people, because I would just give them away. So I had to use the moonlight alone."

The unnamed photo also won first prize in the Spot News category it was originally entered in, earning Richardson a 10,000 euro prize as well as a new top of the line Canon DSLR camera.

The jury who selected the winners was comprised of a number of notable figures from the world of press photography, including Francis Kohn of Agence France-Presse, who chaired the jury, as well as Huang Wen, director of new media development at Xinhua News Agency, Vaughn Wallace, deputy photo editor at Al Jazeera America, as well as several others.

Posted on February 19th 2016 on 02:42pm
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Friday 14th February 2014The 2014 World Press Photo Awards

The art world is filled with awards shows - lets face it, we artists are a proud bunch, and it always helps to have an award that proves how unique your particular artistic vision is. Despite what we may tell ourselves, at some point in our artistic process, we do want to be recognized. While art for personal reasons can be cathartic even if it's not shown to anyone, that can only go so far. But one of the most interesting awards in the art scene bridges the gap between journalism and art: the World Press Photo Awards, given each year for the most emotionally captivating photojournalism.

Some might argue that photojournalism isn't art, and most of the time, they're right, but there are select images that reach out so powerfully to us and affect our emotions so deeply that almost everyone agrees they qualify as art. Some of the world's most well-known photographs are winners from this competition, and the winning pieces are often quite controversial. The winner last year, for example,
For those of you unfamiliar with the WPP awards, there are a number of categories open to photographers: News, Contemporary Issues, Daily Life, Sports, People, Nature, and the biggest prize of all, the Photo of the Year. Each category, except for Nature and the Photo of the Year, is generally divided into two categories, making for a total of twelve first place prizes given out.

This year's winner for Photo of the Year is actually a bit disappointing, in this photographer's opinion, although it is still a fairly powerful image. It shows a group of migrants silhouetted against the sky on the shore in Djibouti, their cellphones held aloft, framed by the moon, trying to capture an elusive wisp of carrier signal from nearby Somalia so as to try to stay in touch with relatives in other parts of the world.
 

There is a certain desolate hopelessness about the image, a feeling of ethereal beauty about the tenuous nature of connection in the modern world, especially when it is upset by strife and forces us to change and re-evaluate our circumstances. That being said, it lacks some of visual impact displayed in some of the other categories, and definitely lacks the controversial feel which has often been a hallmark of the WPP awards in previous years - although this relatively conservative choice may be a reflection of the controversy surrounding last year's winner, which showed two young children, being carried through Gaza City to their own funerals - definitely edgy material.

Posted on February 14th 2014 on 09:31pm
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