World Press Photo: time for a change
© Bas de Meijer
World Press Photo Foundation revealed this week the launch of exciting new activities, including a new contest, a year-long talent scouting program and a new platform for debating industry issues. CPN Web Editor Deniz Dirim reports...
In the past year, the World Press Photo Foundation has revealed a host of transformations such as the introduction of a new code of ethics, satellite masterclasses and a brand new ‘Immersive Storytelling’ category. In a press conference held in Amsterdam on 26th October, World Press Photo Managing Director Lars Boering presented even bigger plans for the foundation in 2017 and 2018.
Presenting the press conference Boering emphasised: “It used to be one peak. The whole organisation was resting on one big pillar which was the announcement of the year. This year we measured the impact of the Photo of the Year and it had one billion potential views worldwide. But now, mapping things out throughout the year, making sure you are seen and active throughout the year becomes very important.”
For starters, World Press Photo’s Photo Contest and Digital Storytelling Contest (formerly known as the Multimedia Contest) are both opening for entries on December 1st 2016. The winners of both contests will be announced on February 13th. With the aim to be more accessible, World Press Photo will for the first time host a 2017 World Press Photo Festival of Visual Journalism in Amsterdam, the Netherlands in the two days leading up to the Awards Ceremony on April 22nd. While Boering reassured that the Photo Contest will still hold “the biggest place”, the press conference’s audience was curious to hear more about the foundation’s new contest for creative documentary photography.
A brand new contest for 2017
In October 2017 the foundation will launch a new contest, which will embrace the role of manipulation in imagery presenting real people and events. World Press Photo Communications Manager David Campbell confirmed that the contest will recognise photography that is “literally constructed”. While the name and specifications of the new contest are yet to be determined it will exist in stark contrast to the prestigious Photo Contest. When asked what type of photography would qualify in the new contest, Boering cited Canon Master Nick Nichols’ beautiful image of a 1,500-year-old redwood tree – which is a composite of 84 frames – as an example. “That kind of work, it’s a single but it’s also part of a bigger story,” explained Boering.
During the World Press Photo Awards Days 2016, World Press Photo introduced the Witness brand with an effective campaign. Moving forward, World Press Photo will launch Witness as an online publication on the platform Medium starting November 1st. Witness’ five sections – business, issues, talent, skills and stories – will offer a dedicated online space to view World Press Photo’s latest activities and discuss the industry’s hottest topics. While World Press Photo will reserve editorial control of content on Witness, the foundation is looking forward to inviting external writers to contribute to the dialogue. Speaking about Witness, Boering shared: “It is a place where we can be criticised. You don’t have to be afraid for that. It’s where the debate takes place.”
Finally, the foundation is starting a new project ‘6x6 Global Talent Program’ which, by form of nominations, will pick six new talents from each of the world’s six continents each year.
Since his appointment to Director in January 2015, Boering has travelled around the world to consult with influential players in the photographic industry. He concludes: “This has been a result of working very hard for a couple of months. And it’s also showing that we have great ambition. We are definitely on the move and it’s going to take a lot of hard work to make sure that we fulfil our promises. But I do think that it’s doable and I also think that all we do there is so much connected to the basic principles that World Press Photo always has stood for; why it was started in ’55 and why we are still, in 2016 and beyond, very important.”
Founded in 1955, the World Press Photo Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The foundation receives support from the Dutch Postcode Lottery and is sponsored worldwide by Canon.