This image is from Donald Weber's series, Interrogations, which was shot in a Ukranian Police station and has scooped First Prize in the Portraits Stories category at the 2012 World Press Photo. Image © Donald Weber/VII Photos.
"Well, it always feels good to be recognised for work by your peers," says Canadian photographer Donald Weber on his First Prize award at World Press Photo.
Weber has scooped the prize in the Portraits-Stories category with a series called Interrogations, which shows the critical moment for a series of Ukrainian petty criminals as they break under police interrogation. The series is part of a wider project on Russia and the Ukraine and the effect of power in society, and he didn't actually enter it into in the portrait category because he doesn't view the images as portraits. "I wish there was a category for no categories and I'm not sure why we have to fit into fields of containment," he says. "I guess the reasoning is there for logistics. What I really wanted to do was to have a monotony of faces, a barrage of moments that are viewed intimately but speak to a larger and more powerful subject."
Weber shot the series as a personal project rather than on commission, using grants and awards to fund his work, but says he doesn't have a problem with being recognised in a prominent press award. "I do not see 'press' as a misnomer anymore, but rather a broadening of the spectrum on the idea of 'press'," he says. "To me it's about communicating to an audience, I think that's what 'press' really represents. I did this on my own dime, like everything I really do. I usually shoot first, ask later."
Since being completed the series has received considerable press coverage and was recently published as a book by Schilt, but despite this - and despite winning another World Press Photo prize back in 2006 plus numerous other prizes - Weber remains a modest man. "I am always and forever will be a self-loathing photographer," he says. "I search to do meaningful work that says something and sometimes you can lose focus of where you are and who you are. But my work can only really be created through a process of being there, and feeling and understanding in the situation I find myself in. I do not pre-plan."
BJP featured Donald Weber's Interrogations in November 2010 - click here to read the article.
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