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Review: World Press Photo 13 Exhibition

  • Posted on:  Saturday, 25 May 2013 18:50
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According to Santiago Lyon, Chair of the World Press Photo 13 jury, photojournalism at its very best should "reach your head, your heart and your stomach". The winning photographs of what has become the world's most important annual photojournalism competition do exactly this.

This prestigious competition saw 103,481 entries whittled down to award winners across nine categories. These winners have been on show in Building 18 of Katara, where they have been gaining significant interest, as part of a tour of more than 100 locations across 45 countries.

In our desensitised world, where images that only a few short decades ago would have shocked most people to the core, it takes something very special to make us pause and take in what we see. To not just see faces contorted with emotion, but to feel empathy in a way that reaches our core. The World Press Photo 13 Exhibition contains walls of pictures that do just this, in a way that conveys empathy, the power to tell a story in a single frame and showcases the ability, both creative and technical, of the world's best photojournalists to capture a precious moment in time.

 

 

As you'd expect, the conflict in Syria features heavily, with fighters vying for wall space along with the victims of the various bloody battles taking place across the troubled State. Also providing a rich vein of source material is the ongoing situation facing the Palestinians under permanent siege in Gaza, such as in the case of Swedish photographer Paul Hansen, who image of men carrying the small bodies of two murdered children through the narrow streets that lead to a final resting place that has come too soon. The mix of despair and anger is etched on the faces of the men who fill the frame so perfectly that the picture could almost have been staged (clearly it wasn't).

Quite simply, it's picture perfect.

 

 

As visceral as many of the photographs are, there is also levity, such as that provided by photographs of sports men and women, or of animals in the wild (or in the case of one set of stark monochrome pictures, of animals in captivity across a number of Chinese zoos).

Many of the sports pictures were taken at last year's Olympic games, and convey the colour, the spectacle and the determination on show at that major event. However, the most striking sport-related photograph, by Malaysian Wei Seng Chen, shows the Pacu Jawi race of Western Sumatra in action, and features a competitor driving two powerful bulls through muddy water towards the finish line.

 

 

There are tender images too, not least the mesmerising photo essay depicting an elderly Italian woman as she devotedly tends to her Altzheimer's-striken husband. Rendered in black and white, it is intimate, sad, but mostly loving. In one shot she is caught taking a moment of respite, in another a bathroom mirror catches her image as she bathes her life companion.

The exhibition is well paced, well annotated, and truly shows off the best of contemporary press photography. Even the quality of the printing of these important images is to be applauded.

It's hard to leave the World Press Photo 13 exhibition without some of the images making their mark on your memory.

All things considered, this exhibition is the finest and most thought-provoking photographic exhibition to be staged at Katara yet.

 

The World Press Photo 13 exhibition can be seen at Building 18 (Gallery 1), Katara Cultural Village, Doha until 16 June. Admission is free.

Read 9756 times Last modified on Monday, 27 May 2013 10:57
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