The World Press Photo Exhibition
Top floor of Smith & Caughey’s,
Queen St, Auckland
July 5 – 27
The World Press Photo Exhibition, which opened this week, demonstrates how press photography can offer more than simple reportage.
Some of the best photographs capture moments of great drama along with a human or emotional elements which will expand the written commentary.
Such photographs make a lasting impression, capturing the essence of a moment, a story or an event.
The exhibition features some of the world’s most powerful images of 2013.
This was the year New Zealand was robbed of the America’s Cup by Oracle, Nelson Mandela died, the Boston Marathon was bombed and 60 people lost their lives in a four-day shopping mall siege in Nairobi. Now in its 57th year, the exhibition features the best images chosen from almost 100,000 entered into the World Press Photo competition by 5700 photographers from around the world.
The works are judged in Amsterdam and the prize-winning photographs are assembled into a travelling exhibition that is viewed by over a million people in 40 countries.
Some of the images in the exhibition are almost abstract as with the image by Goran Tomasevic, simply titled 30 January 2013, Damascus, Syria. It features Syrian rebel fighters taking cover amid flying debris and shrapnel after being hit by a tank shell fired towards them by the Syrian Army in the Ain Tarma neighborhood of Damascus.
The photographer or at least the camera appears to be at the epicentre of the blast managing to capture parts of human beings as well as stones or shrapnel flying through the air with an image of chaos.
The top prize was won by American photographer John Stanmeyer, for a National Geographic magazine shot of African migrants on the shore of Djibouti city at night, raising their phones to try to get reception from neighbouring Somalia. “If they move their phone in the air they will get a signal,” Stanmeyer says. “That is the tenuous link that connects us all together.”
Other images include Taslima Akhter, Bangladesh depicting two victims in the rubble of the garment factory collapse at Rana Plaza in Bangladesh and Tyler Hicks, of the New York Times with his photo of a woman and her children hiding in Nairobi’s Westgate mall.
They escaped unharmed after gunmen had opened fire at the upscale Nairobi mall on 21 September 2013. At least 39 people were killed in one of the worst terrorist attacks in Kenya’s history.
This is the fifth consecutive year that the Auckland Rotary Club has brought the exhibition to New Zealand. “Each time we host this exhibition, we are reminded how relatively peaceful New Zealand is, and how fortunate we are given all that is happening in the world,” Craig Dealey, president of Auckland Rotary says. “Rotary supports global awareness, and the quest for international harmony.
And this exhibition is a graphic reminder of the world’s obligations to its people, here and overseas. We hope that bringing this exhibition to Auckland will make people more internationally aware, and perhaps more socially responsible.”
The exhibition also features a series by Wellington-born, human rights photographer Robin Hammond on the treatment of mental health sufferers in South Sudan; and Getty Images photographer Ezra Shaw’s coverage of the America’s Cup in San Francisco.