Every year, in August, I visit the World Press Photo exhibition. No changes this year. And every year I post a small entry on this blog. I’ve been re-reading my entries since 2011 and noticed my general disgust of the work being shown. Same story every year. Not referring to the photos themselves, but to their content. Of course, I understand it’s a worldwide photographic registration of what’s going on in the world and what we’re doing to ourselves. But, on the whole, it doesn’t make me very happy. On the contrary.
Somehow, however, this year’s exhibition felt different. I don’t think it has anything to do with getting accustomed to all the violence and agression and getting a sort of immune for it. Although there are plenty of wars being fought and people starving, these kind of images were less dominantly present this year. At least, that was my feeling.
When you compare John Stanmeyer’s 2014 winning picture (see above) with the previous winners, it’s different in many ways. It expresses hope. The phone lights, held high up in the air, emphasize this. The people are migrants on their way to new starts, to better lives. They try to pick up an inexpensive telephone signal so they can talk to their relatives abroad. No dead corpses on this picture. No disfigured faces. No tear gas victims.
Perhaps this picture is representative for all the other pictures of the exhibition and maybe this is why I left with much less nausea and disgust than other years. However, with what’s currently going on in the Middle East, Ukrain/Russia and a number of other places, I already fear next year’s World Press Photo winners.