World Press Photo 2013

War. Misery. Beams of sunlight shining to dark apartment through bullet holes in the wall. Man with an assault rifle by the window. Guns. Badly injured bodies on hospital beds. Faces crying in agony and mourning. Gang wars. Tattooed gangsters. Brazilian favelas. School under the bridge in a slum in India. Roadside prostitution in Italy. Modern day misery of Sioux tribe of American Indians. Derelict neighbourhoods in USA. Blood stains and dead bodies. Junkies. Elderly couple fighting with Alzheimer. Chinese children left to their grandparents. Naturally deformed black African faces. Football match in African dust. Miserable zoo animals kept in captivity in China. Women and children deformed by acid thrown by the husband and father on their faces.

This is the best of photojournalism in 2013. Find misery and suffering in the war zones and life. Bring it to people comfortably in a photo they can look at, feel sorry for the unjust in the world, be a tiny bit relieved that at least someone has it worse than they do. And then turn their attention back to the latté and continue gossiping with their friends. And continuing being good consumers. In the safety of the bubble built with money.

For the photojournalist wanna-be, the observed recipe to be able to sell a photo and be published in an exhibition is simple:  Capture emotions first, worry about composition if you have time. It does not matter it you have cut people at the edges of the photo. It does not matter if you have some clutter in the photo. No need to use vignetting or other effects to hide clutter and draw attention to the subject. Use dark colours if not black&white. Don’t shoot vertical photos. One photo with it’s story in a few paragraphs of text. As long as the subject is awaking a strong response in the viewers who can not and do not need to nor want to go to the real world. To be a winner you need the composition right.

So few of these photos were beautiful in terms of composition and colours. I guess that’s necessary to convey the authenticity of the situation. The imminent danger the photographer is exposed to while risking his health and possibly even life to capture this.

In the gallery, many of the viewers were openly displaying their reactions on their faces. Disgust and fear. And relief when they finally walked out. I spent a good half an hour observing the audience after I’ve seen the photos and made my notes.

Of course there were selected few lighter topics. Nature. Moody photo of a macaque wearing a dolls head by Ali Lutfi. Beautifully composed photo of whale sharks by Thomas P. Peschak. And close-up food perspective of a cassowary eating by Christian Ziegler. Penguins by Paul Nicklen. Sets of portraits of Iranian women in celebration costumes. Studio portraits of sumo wrestlers. World famous czech horse race. Top view of basketball players. Top view of badminton players. Bullfight in Spain. Fencing.

And the dual bull race by Wei Seng Chen.

The World Press Photo 2013 Exhibition in Sydney was sponsored by Canon. It made me think, how many of these photos were shot with Nikon or other cameras?

You can view the photos on the official site by clicking this link.

posted: 13 July 27
under: Photography