World Press Today

Here is sometime I was sent about World Press. Wonder what you think. I was not too wild about the winners. I feel like if you want to make documents that are more "moody" or vague, then you need a photo essay, not a single. But i could be wrong. I also feel there are years when there is not a single iconic image and they shouldn't give a single prize. Actually, I don't even like the prize for a single images - unless it is an icon like Eddie Adams or Nick Ut, I don't see the reason to give it an award. What do yot think? ps - I think since Gilles Peress photographers have had more of a "clear Authorship" and perhaps the World Press is just behind the times? - Robert Stevens

This year's World Press Photo Awards are somewhat of a departure from previous competitions, as there were less pure news pictures chosen, typically coming from one of the wire services, but more well composed, moody, and photographically sophisticated stories and images that showed a clear authorship by a single photographer. It seems that slowly the walls between what is still known as photojournalism, documentary photography, art photography and commercial photography are crumbling and I think that this is a good thing. Many of the prize winners this year are very young photographers, young both in age and also in their approach. I feel very proud to be part of this new generation of people who are not so much thinking in categories any longer.


- Christoph Bangert re. World Press May 2008

1 comment:

Tom White said...

I don't really mind the fact that there are prizes for singles - I view the world press awards as something of an overview of the year so when I look at the winners I bear in mind that what I am looking it is kind of the 'tip of the iceberg'. I have discovered many photographers through this competition and think it is a worthwhile resource, though I often think people make it out to be the be-all-and-end-all of the photographic world, as in if it didn't appear here it didn't matter, which is blatantly not true. As for the idea that this year there were less 'news' type images I'm not so sure that this is a recent thing. I have seen many shots over the years with a high aesthetic or artistic value. Remember that Cartier-Bresson insisted he was and artist, even when he was working as a documentarian. The boundaries have always been fluid and many photographers have always understood that, so I am not sure that this is a new thing.

Perhaps the different photographic trends are becoming more homogenised thanks to the ubiquitous use of photoshop and the ease in which styles can be mimicked through the use of such software. Note the heavy amount of post production on many images leading to what I have heard called the 'metallic' effect. As Gabriele Stabile pointed out to me when we were discussing this a while back 'They all start to look like Nike Advertisements'. This can be both a good and bad thing. Personally I worry that the styles used in fashion and art may detract from the content when used in documentary work. It is a fine line which I have written about before on this blog.

There is an interesting article on the world press judging process over on the FOTO8
website which addresses many of these issues.