World Press Photo, the 2024 edition

July 06, 2024 | Cosmina Marcela OLTEAN ArtPage

World Press Photo provides an overview of global reality every year, each time targeting the most sensitive points. By means of documentary photographs with artistic valences, we are presented with scenes of great visual and emotional impact through the tragedy of the moment, objectivity (controlled only in terms of the artistry of the frame) and truth.

The 67th edition of the annual international exhibition World Press Photo is ongoing in Amsterdam, but also in other capitals, as part of the world tour. It was also exhibited in Bucharest's University Square.

May 18 was the date on which the global winners of the most prestigious photojournalism competition were announced, the one that always directs our attention to the stories of the moment, the ones that matter now, all visually translated into photographs that have both journalistic and artistic valences of the highest level.

The 146 photographs in the World Press Photo 2024 exhibition focus on the war in Gaza and Ukraine, migration, family and mental health, demonstrating the importance of photojournalism as a tool to inform, raise awareness and anchor what is happening now. The concept of reality varies in forms and meanings, because the reality of the moment is different for each region of the globe. We hear stories from multiple realities unfolding simultaneously, to which we can only position ourselves as observers from a distance, which is why most of the time we do not understand them in depth. Photojournalism brings clarity through impact and emotion.

Four of the best photos of 2024

Photo of the Year "A Palestinian Woman Embraces the Body of Her Niece" belongs to Reuters News Agency contributor Mohammed Salem. The photographer describes his image as a "powerful and sad moment that sums up the broader meaning of what was happening in the Gaza Strip." He found Inas squatting on the ground, embracing the child, at the Nasser Hospital morgue, where residents were going to search for missing relatives. Inas had raced to the family home when she heard that it had been hit, and then on to the morgue.

The jury's comment

"The jury was deeply moved by the way this image evokes an emotional reflection in each viewer. Composed with care and respect, it simultaneously offers a metaphorical and literal glimpse of unimaginable loss. Set in a geographically distant medical setting, it resonates globally, urging us to confront the desensitization of the consequences of human conflict. The image is multi-layered, representing the loss of a child, the struggle of the Palestinian people and the 31,000 dead in Palestine. Symbolic of the impact of conflict, the image makes a statement about the futility of all wars."

The jury acknowledged that this photographer was awarded for the same subject almost a decade ago, underscoring the ongoing struggle for recognition of such a pressing issue. The conflict in Gaza has a history of 75 years now.

The Story of the Year award was won by Lee-Ann Olwage for "Valim-Babena" which tells the story of a grandfather suffering from dementia who prepares to go to church with his niece. The photo draws attention to the spread of this disease globally. The story illustrates the Malagasy principle of valim-babena, meaning the duty of children to help their parents.

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 55 million people worldwide suffer from dementia, more than 60% of whom live in low- and middle-income countries. In Madagascar, the WHO estimates that around 40,000 people are living with Alzheimer's. A lack of public awareness of dementia means that people with symptoms of memory loss are often stigmatised. Many consider the symptoms to be signs of witchcraft, demonic possession, or "madness."

Another award-winning photo is "The Two Walls" by Alejandro Cegarra, which captures an emigrant walking on top of a freight train known as "The Beast" in Piedras Negras, Mexico. Immigrants often use freight trains to reach the US border. Thus thousands of Mexicans died or were maimed, falling on the railway. But this is not the sure danger to which they are exposed.

"War Is Personal", by Julia Kochetova, draws attention to the situation in Ukraine and invites us to imagine what it feels like when war becomes your daily reality.

All winning photos and their stories can be seen here - ;

Știri și povești din lumea artei, a jurnalismului și turismului cultural. Recenzii de expoziții, prezentări de film și file de călătorie.

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