The best of world press photography. Part 1.

The 53rd annual World Press Photo Exhibition is currently on display at Southbank Centre in London.


World Press Photo Contest is the “world’s largest and most prestigious annual press photography contest”. It is organised by World Press Photo, an independent, non-profit organization with its office in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The first ever contest took place in 1955.

Every year following the contest, the winning images go on tour.

The exhibition is officially opened in Amsterdam in April and then can be seen at venues around the globe. This year the tour program takes in at least 36 countries, with the exhibition being staged in museums and art galleries, hotels and stations and (in Moscow) a chocolate factory.

They say that the show “forms an eyewitness record of world events from the previous year”. But in fact, it is more than that.

True, there are lots of war-related photographs, some sport and Barack Obama’s inauguration day. But then there is, for example, the daily life of 13-year-old Adrian who has autism and lives in Peru, by Gihan Tubbeh. Or a story of Ceci, 20, who is a tango dancer in Buenos Aires, by Karla Gachet from Ecuador. And many others.

So if you like both arts and documentaries, it’s a great place to visit* and tell your friends about.

And it is free of charge :)

War and peace

The picture that struck me most of all was taken by a Kent Klich from Sweden.

It shows an empty room with grey walls, two sofas, a chair and a cupboard, and a big hole in the roof.

The description states that the house was hit by a tank shell in Tuffah, northern Gaza. The family that lived in the house had fled during the Israeli attack, but the 39-old father had returned to fetch clothes for his children and was killed when the shell struck.

It’s very simple, it doesn’t show bloody corpses or people in pain. It looks almost peaceful, yet it is a lot scarier than some naturalistic war scenes.

I would say the image looks like a painting, not a photograph. And it’s sad and shocking to realise that it’s not a creation of an artist’s mind, it’s a fact engraved in a picture.

When and where

The exhibition in London is open daily, 10 am – 10.30 pm, until the fifth of December.
The address is Southbank Centre, Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road (Waterloo tube station).

*Mind that some pictures are really distressing. I wish I had noticed the message about it before I saw some of the photographs.


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