WPP 2016

You can read about the winners of the 2016 World Press Photo Contest on the Lens Blog at the New York Times – and doubtless elsewhere by the time I finish writing this. I don’ like the title of their article by James Estrin, The World’s Best News Photos, as good though these images may be, they are only one panel’s selection from the 82,951 submitted of the many millions taken in 2015. The NYT did do rather well in the awards – perhaps because there are now rather fewer newspapers with a “serious commitment to quality photojournalism.”

The winning entry, a picture taken by moonlight (24mm, 1/5s, f1.4 ISO 6400) of a baby being passed under the barbed wire border fence as Syrian refugees cross from Serbia into Hungary taken on 28 August 2015 by Australian freelance Warren Richardson certainly catches something of the reality of the refugee crisis, but it also epitomises the problems facing photographers today.

The picture was previously unpublished. Richardson spent several months working and living with the refugees without any paid assignments, enduring himself something of the hardships they faced – including being beaten by police. But although this picture – certainly one of the’ World’s Best News Photos’ was submitted to two agencies, no newspaper or magazine around the world thought it worth publishing until now. If he hadn’t sent it to WPP we would probably never have seen it.

You can read his story Refugee Crisis Hungary on his web site, and see around 40 pictures from it,though the winning WPP entry is not included.

I’ve only had time for a quick glance through the other WPP winners so far – and will certainly go back to look at greater length. It’s good to see the WPP run under stricter rules and I hope there will be none of the controversies we have seen in recent years.

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