All posts tagged: World Press Photo

Mads Nissen’s Homophobia in Russia wins World Press Photo of the Year

Mads Nissen, a staff photographer for the Danish daily newspaper Politiken, has won the World Press Photo of the Year 2015 for an intimate image of Jon and Alex, two gay men in St Petersburg, Russia. Life for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) people is becoming increasingly fraught in Russia in the wake of aggressively prohibitive laws for “non-traditional sexual practises.” In the run-up to the Sochi Winter Olympics, Russian President Putin notoriously said of gay citizens in Russia: “One can feel calm and at ease. Just leave kids alone, please.” Sexual minorities face legal and social discrimination, harassment, and even violent hate-crime attacks from conservative religious and nationalistic groups. Nissen, who is represented by Panos Pictures, spent more than a year with gay pride activists groups across Russia as they rallied for their civil liberties under tyrannical new laws and a rising tide of extremist homophobia. The winning picture is part of a larger project by Nissen called Homophobia in Russia, which was shot for Scanpix and selected by the jury of the 58th annual World Press …


I Witness


If visual journalism is on the decline, you wouldn’t know it from this year’s World Press Photo competition, the winners of which go on show today at the Royal Festival Hall in London. Selected from 98,671 photographs submitted to the contest organisers, the exhibition showcases the best entries across eight categories. Including individual images alongside photo essays, they highlight some of the major news stories of last year, such as the Westgate Mall massacre in Nairobi and the collapse of Rana Plaza in Dhaka. But they also highlight many of the slow-burning issues that continue beyond the daily news cycle, such as people migration – as portrayed in the overall winning photograph by John Stanmeyer. “It’s a very sophisticated, powerfully nuanced image,” says Jillian Edelstein, one of the jury members of this year’s World Press Photo. “It is so subtly done, so poetic, yet instilled with meaning, conveying issues of great gravity and concern in the world today.” The picture portrays African migrants on the shore of Djibouti City at night, raising their phones in an attempt to capture …


‘The gunmen were willing to do anything to get their message across,’ says World Press Photo winner Tyler Hicks

“Before I arrived, I initially thought it was a robbery,” says American photographer Tyler Hicks of the massacre that took place at Nairobi’s Westgate shopping centre on 21 September last year. “Nairobi has a high rate of crime, and it’s very common for there to be robberies and shoot-outs in certain parts of the city. But when I reached the mall, I saw a large number of people running out terrified. I could see that many of them had what appeared to be gunshot wounds. It was then that I realised this was clearly an execution… Those responsible were willing to do anything to get their message across.” [bjp_ad_slot] American photojournalist Tyler Hicks won Second Prize for his images of civilians caught in gunfire at the Nairobi shopping mall. 39 people are thought to have died in what is one of the worst terrorist attacks in Kenya’s history. Hicks, who works as a staff photographer for The New York Times, has been based in Nairobi since 1999. He recounted his experiences of the shooting in a phone …


Julie McGuire on drawing international attention to the plight of street dogs – and winning a WPP award for doing so

“I’m thrilled,” she tells BJP. If Julie McGuire isn’t well known,  she is certainly well practised – long a keen amateur photographer, she has 20 years of experience in PR and marketing and decided that “the switch to visual storytelling was my next challenge”. She was spurred into action in 2005 after moving to India, when she saw the fate of street dogs there. “I was shocked to see the number of dogs on the streets (currently around 250,000 in Bangalore alone), the limited resources allocated to help them, and the attitude of some local people to their fate,” she says. “As I travelled around Asia, I realised that this was a much wider issue than I had imagined and wanted to help raise awareness the best way I could – through storytelling.” [bjp_ad_slot] She shot the WPP prize-winning story last summer, after travelling to Penang, Malaysia, to attend the inaugural Obscura Photography Festival and a workshop in the programme. “As with all my personal projects, I reached out to many dog-related organisations and individuals prior …


‘These awards show the consequences of a lack of resources in the industry,’ says World Press Photo’s chair Gary Knight

“I’ve done this four times with World Press Photo, and multiple times elsewhere in the world, and, I have to say – no disrespect to any other jury I’ve served on – this one was by far the most exceptional. It was a really thoughtful and intelligent, open-minded jury that was very willing to challenge its own prejudices and preconceptions in a way I’ve never experienced before.” [bjp_ad_slot] When the two-week-long process kickstarted in early February, Knight brought the jury together to define its goals. “It was important to establish what we were going to judge and what we were going to ask ourselves,” Knight tells BJP in a phone conversation. “There was a significant conversation about the hierarchy of issues. Are some issues more important than others, and to what extend should we bear that in mind, if at all? Did we want to make statements? And what would they be? The conclusions we came to were that there’s no hierachy of issues and that we didn’t want to make any statements. What we …


Eight percent of final World Press Photo entries were manipulated and disqualified, say judges

“Honestly, I was surprised, and more than a little bit disappointed, by the number of pictures that were disqualified from the competition for having been altered and manipulated against the policies of World Press Photo and against our industry standards,” photographer David Guttenfelder, who was on this year’s World Press Photo jury, tells BJP. Following a controversial win last year, World Press Photo instituted new rules relating to post-processing in award-winning images. “There has been a lot of discussion and widespread speculation regarding the permissible levels in post-processing of image files in the contest,” Michiel Munneke, World Press Photo’s managing director, explained last year. “We have evaluated the contest rules and protocols and examined how to create more transparency, and we have changed the procedures for examining the files during the judging.” BJP understands that eight percent of the images that reached the final round were found to have been manipulated. “On the one hand, I was really distressed, especially because so much of the post-processing that had made these images ineligible was absolutely unnecessary,” says …


‘I see this as a launching point,’ says Sara Naomi Lewkowicz of her World Press Photo first prize win

“To be honest, I’m totally in shock,” American photographer Sara Naomi Lewkowicz tells BJP on the phone.  “I’m not one of those people who enters competitions and watches with bated breath. It’s too much pressure and I get too nervous. I enter competitions and then I forget. But it’s wonderful [to have won]. I see this as a launching point. There’s a big difference between winning a prize for one piece of work and having a canon of work behind you. For me, this is my jumping-off point. Now I feel my work has begun.” [bjp_ad_slot] The New York photojournalist, who is currently studying a Master’s degree in Visual Communication at Ohio University, won first prize in the Contemporary Issues (stories) category for her project, A Portrait of Domestic Violence, shot for Time magazine. In the project, Lewkowicz documents the relationship of a couple, Shane and Maggie, which turns violent. She began the project in September 2012, but it wasn’t a subject she initially set out to explore. “I met Shane and Maggie and spent time with them, documenting …


VII Photo’s John Stanmeyer wins 57th World Press Photo of the Year

“It’s a photo that is connected to so many other stories – it opens up discussions about technology, globalisation, migration, poverty, desperation, alienation, humanity,” says Jillian Edelstein, jury member of this year’s World Press Photo. “It’s a very sophisticated, powerfully nuanced image. It is so subtly done, so poetic, yet instilled with meaning, conveying issues of great gravity and concern in the world today.” [bjp_ad_slot] US photographer John Stanmeyer of VII Photo was on assignment with National Geographic when he shot this image of “African migrants on the shore of Djibouti city at night, raising their phones in an attempt to capture an inexpensive signal from neighbouring Somalia – a tenuous link to relatives abroad,” reads the caption. “Djibouti is a common stop-off for migrants in transit from countries such as Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea seeking a better life in Europe and the Middle East.” The picture also won 1st Prize in the Contemporary Issues category. Speaking to BJP, Stanmeyer says: “It’s an honour and privilege to win. I hope it communicated the reality that we could …


BJP Staff