Annual World Press Photo exhibition

The annual World Press Photo exhibition, presenting prizewinning photographs from the World Press Photo Competition, is currently on display at the Bunkier Sztuki. This year’s collection, made up of 191 photographs by 60 winning photographers of over 20 different nationalities, includes picture stories as well as single images, documenting major events that took place last year. The photographic works, ranging in category from general news and sports to nature and portraits, represent photojournalism of the highest standard.

While many of the photographs in the exhibition reflect the top news stories of 2006, such as the war in Lebanon, Iraq, continuing conflicts in Israel, and protests in Budapest, there are also stories represented that did not make the headlines. Though small, the stories are significant in the way they make an impact solely through their visual power, the kind of storytelling that constitutes photojournalism. Thus, World Press Photo, an independent, non-profit organization, provides the opportunity for devoted photojournalists, who work for months on one story, to educate the public on the world in which we live.

Truly open to all, the competition does not involve an entrance fee. Every year, the jury chooses a single picture as the World Press Photo of the Year. In order to maintain judging dynamic and bolster objectivity, the jury consists of 13 picture editors, photographers and representatives of press agencies from different parts of the world, and with widely divergent backgrounds. In addition, the organization has no influence on the decision of the jury. The World Press Photo of the Year represents an issue, situation or event of great journalistic and historical importance, while also demonstrating exceptional visual perception and creativity.

This year, the jury of the fiftieth annual World Press Photo Contest, decided on a color image by Spencer Platt, a photographer from the U.S. The photograph depicts a group of young Lebanese driving through a devastated neighborhood in Beitrut on August 15, the first day of ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah, observing the devastation caused by the Israeli bombings.

Michele McNally, World Press Photo jury chair and director of photography for the New York Times, commented on the photo: “It’s a picture you can keep looking at. It has the complexity and contradiction of real life, amidst chaos. This photograph makes you look beyond the obvious.” According to Elsbeth Schouten, Project Manager for World Press Photo and editor of the yearbook associated with annual contest and exhibition, the picture really challenges our ideas of what a war photograph should look like, and how victims living in a war zone should look and behave.

In addition to promoting photojournalism and stimulating creativity among practitioners, World Press Photo aims to encourage and support press photography through direct involvement with the development of photographers.

The photograph winning first prize under the ‘spot news’ category portrays a man rinsing soot from his face at the scene of a petrol pipeline explosion in Lagos, Nigeria. In 2005, the author of the photograph, Akintunde Akinleye, was a participant of the first photojournalism course organized by World Press Photo in cooperation with the Nigerian Institute for Journalism.

As a traveling exhibition, of which there are 14 copies that pass through over 95 cities in 45 countries around the world, it is the tenth time that World Press Photo comes to Krakow. World Press Photo, known for organizing the world’s largest and most prestigious annual press photography contest, received over 78,000 entries this year from 4,460 photographers in 124 countries.

There were 69 entries from Poland, a smaller number than in former years. As a representative of World Press Photo, Schouten encourages all Polish press photographers to participate in the competition.

The photographs will be displayed until October 21 in the Bunkier Sztuki, open daily from 10:00 to 20:00.
For more information, contact or visit:Bunkier Sztukipl. Szczepanski 3aTel.: (+48/12) 422-10-52; 422-40-21

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