Until 22th July you have still got the chance to see the most important photography competition in the visual journalism context, the World Press Photo. Created in 1955 as an international contest launched by a group of Dutch photographers, it is now recognised as the main event that demonstartes the importance of photojournalism worldwide.
The annual exhibition can be visited in the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) in Dam Square, in the heart of Amsterdam. Tickets are available online and at the box office (for the Museumkaart holders, it’s free!) and they include an audio guide. You can start your tour from the introduction display with the winner pictures of the past editions and then move on to the current year’s exhibition. The contest is organised in different categories: contemporary issues, environment, general news, long-term projects, nature, people, sports and spot news. It is significant that, even though the passing of time, there are some topics that recur throughout history, such as war, refugees, racial or classist segregation, women submission, mistreatment of animals. The first prize of this year goes to Ronaldo Schemidt, Venezuelan photojournalist that has been able to immortalise a terrifying moment during a political protest against the leader of the country.
The foundation also collaborates with FotoEvidence, organization set up in 2010 to pursue the use of photography providing documentary evidence and condemning injustice, oppression and human rights violations. The winner of 2018, the bravest photographer in the pursuit of social justice, is Josué Rivas with his Standing strong, about the spiritual awakening of the people resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The World Press Photo Foundation is a non-profit organization whose aim is encouraging people to think critically and to debate on the world they live in. There’s an ethical controversy on the way the photojournalists work: on a side, they risk their lives in attempting to capture significant moments of our present that we wouldn’t see otherwise, but on the other side, for the common moral they lack in sensibility and sense of decency. In my approach to this kind of journalism, I have found it very interesting that a single picture can have such a powerful impact to stimulate immediately a thought about what you have just seen. The technology and the communicative systems constantly change; our perception of reality changes with them. That’s why we always need new forms of communication, such as the visual journalism, that is able to combine the ability of a storyteller with the most high-quality visual tools. Federica Veccari 3rd July 2018
The photo is by this year’s award winner Ronaldo Schemidt entitled José Víctor Salazar Balza (28) catches fire amid violent clashes with riot police during a protest against President Nicolás Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela. © Ronaldo Schemidt reproduced courtesy of Ronaldo Schemidt and World Press Photo