‘Afrikaner Blood’ by Elles van Gelder (videographer) and Ilvy Njiokiktjien (photographer), The Netherlands. Image © Ilvy Njiokiktjien.
Afrikaner Blood follows young white Afrikaner teenagers in South Africa, who attend a holiday camp set up to teach them self-defense and how to combat a perceived black enemy.
The documentary, filmed, photographed and produced by Elles van Gelderen and Ilvy Njiokiktjien from The Netherlands, came ahead of Maisie Crow's Half-Lives: The Chernobyl Workers Now, and James Lo Scalzo's America's Dead Sea, which came, respectively, second and third.
Speaking to BJP ahead of the announcement, jury chair Vincent Laforet explains that the judges felt the winning work had "a squirm factor," he says. "We were uncomfortable with the subject and what was being said. I, initially, had a negative reaction to it because I was so taken aback by, in effect, the power of the piece. But, when I saw it for the second time I realised that not only was it a very important piece, but also it was by far the single best produced piece in terms of nuance and restraint - they could absolutely have gone over the top, exaggerated things or make points a little bit more bluntly. Instead, there was a lot of subtlety. The piece was very well edited. It had a series of interviews prior to the indoctrination, and interviews after it."
Laforet adds that you might not want people to see these Afrikaners, "because you're afraid of giving these people a bigger audience. But the reality is that hiding this type of things is the worse thing you can do, especially as a journalist. It's important to air out these views. It goes far beyond racism. It speaks of nationalism and all types of discrimination throughout the world. It's a disturbing piece, but one that the World Press needs to make sure is distributed around the world."
Crow's Half-Lives presentation came second as "it showed a different aspect of Chernobyl," Laforet tells BJP. "It showed it under a different light, something that you would probably not see on television or even in a newspaper article." However, Laforet felt that the piece could have benefited from a tighter edit, even though it was worthy of winning 2nd Prize, without questions.
In fact, he says, most of the entries to the World Press Photo's second multimedia contest sufferred from editing problems. "People either made the obvious mistake of not editing out irrelevant content or making the piece go too long. Also, one of our biggest frustrations is that some photographers would start their multimedia piece with two or three pages of five-point-sized text. Clearly some people don’t understand the power of multimedia and how to use it. No one wants to seat and read text on a video screen. They might want to read a few lines at most, but not several paragraphs along several pages."
One piece that succeeded in telling an interesting story in a tight and controlled edit is Lo Scalzo's America's Dead Sea, which came third. "I thought it was a very good piece. It's always very hard to pull off comedy in short films, and the jury appreciated that. I think we also rewarded it for its tight edit and smart concept. It was very well executed."
The jury also gave a special mention to the interactive multimedia production Punched Out: The Life and Death of a Hockey Enforcer by The New York Times and videographer/photographers Shayla Harris and Marcus Yam. Last year, Yam received 1st Prize in the Linear Productions category of the World Press Photo inaugural multimedia contest.
Watch the winning work, Afrikaner Blood:
Watch Half-Lives, Second Prize:
Watch America's Dead Sea, Third Prize:
In the next hours, BJP will have more reactions from the winners and jury members. Stay tuned.
‘Half-Lives: The Chernobyl Workers Now' by Maisie Crow, USA, photographer and videographer. Image © Maisie Crow.
‘America's Dead Sea' by James Lo Scalzo, USA, photographer. Image © James Lo Scalzo.
‘Punched Out: The Life and Death of a Hockey Enforcer' by The New York Times and videographer/photographers Shayla Harris and Marcus Yam. Image © Marcus Yam/The New York Times.
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