“It’s crazy, I can’t believe it,” says Ivor Prickett, of his two nominations for the World Press Photo of the Year award. “Out of a line up of six, to have two images seems insane considering the amount of great work being produced last year. I can’t quite believe it.” He’s on the phone from Iraq where he’s headed back back to Mosul, the city he’s been photographing for well over a year. Iraq’s second biggest city, Mosul was taken by ISIS militants in June 2014; in October 2016 Iraqi troops began a major offensive to regain the city, the largest military operation since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and Prickett joined them right away. Originally from Ireland, he’s been based in the Middle East since 2009 and says that “as a reporter in the region, I couldn’t help but cover it”.
“Normally people don’t get set on fire during the protests, but there were many barricades on fire and the demonstrators use Molotov bombs,” says Ronaldo Schemidt. “I got the photo when a National Guard motorcycle exploded during a clash between demonstrators and government forces. It was lying on the floor, on fire, surrounded by young people. One of the protestors hit the tank, generating an explosion. Then the guy in the photo caught fire. I was standing a few meters away with my back to him, but when I felt the heat of the flames, I got my camera and turned around to start shooting whatever had just happened. It all took just a few seconds, so I didn’t know what I was shooting. I was moved by instinct, it was very quick. I didn’t stop shooting until I realised what was going on. There was somebody on fire running towards me.”
Born in Australia in 1969, Patrick Brown lived in the Middle East and Africa before his family settled in Perth, Australia. Drawn to documentary photography, and influenced by the images of war and civil unrest from the 1980s and 90s, he returned to Africa and spent six weeks documenting the work of an Australian surgeon in Malawi. Brown joined Panos Pictures in 2003, and has shown his work in institutions such as the International Center of Photography in New York, and Visa Pour l’Image in France; he works for organisations such as The New Yorker, TIME, Newsweek, National Geographic, GEO Germany, OXFAM, Human Rights Watch, and The Red Cross. Brown focuses on documenting issues across Asia, and has been nominated for the World Press Photo of the Year for an image showing the bodies of Rohingya refugees laid out after the boat in which they were attempting to flee Myanmar capsized about eight kilometers off Inani Beach, near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. BJP: Your image is quite oblique, you have to look again to see what’s actually being shown. Why …
Born in Australia in 1978, Adam Ferguson studied photography at Griffith University. He first won recognition for his work in 2009, when his photographs of the war in Afghanistan won awards from World Press Photo and Photo District News. Since then he has worked all over the world, for clients such as The New York Times, TIME Magazine, National Geographic, The Financial Times Magazine, WaterAid, UNICEF, and Human Rights Watch. Ferguson has been nominated for the World Press Photo of the Year for his shot of Aisha, a 14-year-old girl who was kidnapped by Boko Haram and wired for a suicide bombing, but managed to escape. The image comes from a series of portraits shot on commission for The New York Times, which has been nominated in World Press Photo’s People category. BJP: Your image is very different to a hard-news style shot. Why did you choose to shoot a portrait (and in fact a series of portraits) in this way? How did you do so? Where did you take the shots, and how did you set …
This year, he says, all the images have been thoroughly checked before the shortlists have been announced, let alone the winners. “All the checking is already done – all raw files, where the images were shot, everything,” he tells BJP. “We know how important it is that everything can be trusted, and we keep asking questions until we are satisfied. We wouldn’t announce the shortlists unless we were.”
“The works selected here have all run up against a more or less bitter-sweet reality, and their authors have liberally arranged, glued, assembled, masked and cut out the components of that reality in order to present it to us as something different, eminently subjective, and decidedly moving,” writes Raphaëlle Stopin, artistic advisor for the 2018 Prix HSBC. She’s writing of the 12 photographers shortlisted for two top prizes, which this year have gone Antoine Bruy (France, 1986) and Petros Efstathiadis (Greece, 1980). The other shortlisted photographers are: Olivia Gay (France, 1973), with the series Envisagées; Karin Crona (Sweden 1968), De la possibilité d’une image; Elsa Leydier (France, 1988), Platanos con platino; Sandra Mehl (France, 1980), Ilona et Maddelena; Shinji Nagabe (Brazil, 1975), Espinha; Michele Palazzi (Italy 1984), Finisterrae; Walker Pickering (USA, 1980), Esprit de corps; Marie Quéau (France, 1985), Odds and ends; Brea Souders (USA, 1978), Film electric; and Vladimir Vasilev (Bulgaria, 1977), T(h)races.
“The work represents my experience in recovering and understanding my parents, their life and their relationship towards myself,” says Marco Marzocchi of his series Oyster. “I never knew them well because they split when I was 6 years old, and they both died young.
“Drugs, addictions, jail, and dysfunctional environment, these were constant elements. This work is focused on dealing and replacing all the doubts and the fears that I had. Exorcising the pain and the searching for love.” A bold mix of colour, black-and-white, contemporary and archive images, presented with hand-written text, Marzocchi’s series has scooped first prize in the 2017 Gomma Grant. Marzocchi has worked on the project for a decade, honing down on the editing last year with distinguished photographers JH Engstrom and Margot Wallard at the celebrated Atelier Smedsby workshop.
At first glance, the suburban district of Southall, West London seems the epitome of harmony. Home to 70,000 people, nearly half of whom were born outside the UK, it boasts Sikh Gurdwaras, Christian churches, Islamic Mosques, and Hindu temples. The dominant population is Asian, earning the area the nickname Little India and bilingual English/Punjabi signage. But for Manny Melotra, who was born in the area and still lives there, that apparent harmony is an illusion. “If you’re a resident, you know a completely different Southall,” he says.
It’s one of the most interesting prizes for emerging photography, with previous winners including Sølve Sundsbo, Anouk Kruithof, and Lorenzo Vitturi – it’s the Grand prix du jury photographie at the International Festival of Fashion, Photography and Fashion Accessories in Hyères and the 2018 finalists are: Eva O’Leary (Ireland, USA), Teresa Eng (Canada), Pascale Arnaud (France), Laetitia Bica (Belgium), Sarah Mei Herman (Netherlands), Allyssa Heuse (Philippines, France), Jaakko Kahilaniemi (Finland), Csilla Klenyánszki (Hungary), Sanna Lehto (Finland), and Aurélie Scouarnec (France). The ten shortlisted photographers will present their work at a group show at the Villa Noailles from 26 April-27 May; the winner will be announced during the festival, which takes place from 26-30 April.
“It is peculiar how forests have such an affect on us,” observes Jersey-born photographer Alexander Mourant of his latest project Aomori, which was shot in Japan’s ancestral forests. “As temporal dimensions crumble, objectivity leaves us. We are found in a still, oneiric state, contemplating our own accumulation of experience.” His series is going on show in London as part of the Free Range FR Awards