“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”.
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.”
“I meet people with more empathy and more care towards one another in war situations or in conflict around the world than I have ever experienced in Europe. People want to share the little they have with me because I have talked to them and shown an interest in them,” says Jan Grarup. His work has taken him to the sites of the worst conflicts – from obvious examples such as Iraq and Iran, to forgotten areas like the Central African Republic. Each place he visits, he stays to learn about the culture and customs of the people before taking their photographs. In these places of despair and destruction, Grarup often finds hope and resilience. But the Western world needs to be more active and share the responsibility to help these regions return to a peaceful existence.
“The recipients of the 2017 Getty Images Editorial Photography Grants are working at the cutting edge of photojournalism, ensuring that often ignored global issues are brought to the forefront of public consciousness,” said Hugh Pinney, Vice President of News, Getty Images. This year’s winners see projects taking place in war torn Mosul, documenting the unrest in Venezuela and refugees seeking new homes in Europe.
The Visa Pour l’Image festival returns for the 29th time – to “turbulent time”, in which “photojournalists are obviously needed, and play an essential role which is now more important than ever” as the co-founder and director general Jean-François Leroy puts it
After eight months of fighting, Iraqi forces are close to retaking the city of Mosul. Photographer Tommy Trenchard has spent much of the last three months documenting the conflict in his project The Battle for Mosul. His photographs cover the bitter street-fighting in the western half of Mosul, as well as the war’s effect on the city’s residents – over half a million of whom have been displaced since the rise of ISIS in 2014.