The World Press photo exhibition
Published: April 12, 2012
A black-veiled woman cradling her son overcome by tear gas in a riot in the Middle East. The carcass of a cow, abandoned in the aftermath of the nuclear disaster in Japan. A young woman in a bridal gown attempting suicide by jumping out a window. Year after year, the stunningly captured images of almost unimaginable events pack an emotional wallop.
It’s no light-hearted venture, visiting the World Press Photo exhibition of award-winning images from the previous year.
I’ve seen the exhibit on several occasions, and what often gets to me at least as much as the images themselves is how all too often they chronicle events I can’t recall having heard about even in passing, or bring to light social issues I never knew existed.
The World Press Photo Foundation, based in Amsterdam, has been organizing a photo contest for press photographers, photojournalists and documentary photographers covering the events of the previous year for 55 years. Photographers compete in nine categories, including news, nature, contemporary issues and daily life. In 2012, more than 100,000 photographs were submitted for the jury’s consideration, which awarded prizes to 57 photographers from 25 countries.
An exhibition of the award-winning images opens to the public at the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam on April 20 and runs through June 17. At the same time, exhibitions of the photos will travel to cities throughout the world. If a visit to a certain city was already in the works, you might find it worthwhile to finalize the dates of your stay to allow you to catch the exhibition. Alternately, let the exhibition provide the impetus to visit a place you hadn’t previously considered. European cities hosting the exhibition include: Gent and Knokke-Heist, Belgium; Banja Luka and Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina; Paris and Perpignan, France; Berlin and Hamburg, Germany; Budapest, Hungary; Rome and Milan, Italy; Eindhoven and Naarden, Netherlands; Krakow and Poznan, Poland; Maia, Lisbon, and Portimao, Portugal; Belgrade and Novi Sad, Serbia; Ljubljana, Slovenia; Barcelona, Madrid and Valladolid, Spain; and Zurich, Switzerland. Dates are available at worldpressphoto.org/events. It’s also possible to view the winning images on-line.