I urge Sydneysiders to view the world’s best photojournalism from last year at the free State Library of NSW exhibition “World Press Photo”. An incredible collection of award-winning photos are on display from 8 May 2008 – 5 June 2008.
“Dissident general Laurent Nkunda poses at his headquarters in North Kivu, a province particularly affected by unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo.” credit: Cédric Gerbehaye, Belgium, Agence Vu.
The first free elections in Congo in four decades, held in 2006, did not put an end to violence and instability in the country. With no clear winner in the presidential vote, opposing sides continued to clash. The process of integrating rebel militia into the national army remained delicate.
Many of the photos I saw had themes of war, violence, death and destruction. They reminded me of lyrics from the Crowded House song “Don’t Dream It’s Over”:
In the paper today, Tales of war and of waste. But you turn right over to the TV page
As the lyrics say it’s all to easy to pretend that bad things don’t happen in the world. For now we can rely on courageous photo-journalists going into battle zones and other areas documenting human suffering and struggles and revealing them to the world.
However in the future as the news industry and media become more rationalised and profit driven will there be enough funding and interest in providing high quality coverage of serious subjects? We can only hope ….
Gary Knight of the 2008 jury: “In walking through the exhibition the viewer accepts a responsibility handed on by the photographers and the jury to learn”
“You are encouraged to pay attention to the captions and follow them up with thought and further research”
“We hope that after looking at these pictures, viewers will understand a little better how the world works and our place in it. The collection does not mark the end of a process but a new beginning”
“Much of the work you will see in the exhibition represents the world in a way that many of us are unaccustomed to seeing it; in a way that throws down a challenge to the public to re-engage with the media.”
“It is also a challenge to those of us in the media who may find these essays uncomfortably unorthodox. The future has arrived”
World Press Photo is an independent non-profit organisation, founded in the Netherlands in 1955. Its main aim is to support and promote internationally the work of professional press photographers.
Over the years, World Press Photo has evolved into an independent platform for photojournalism and the free exchange of information.
In order to realise its objectives, World Press Photo organises the world’s largest and most prestigious annual press photography contest.
The prize-winning photographs are assembled into this travelling exhibition, which is visited by over a 2 million people in 50 countries every year. The yearbook presenting all prize-winning entries is published annually in several languages.
The State Library of NSW has many great exhibitions which are free to view