The 2011 World Press Photo Awards Days came to end following a poignant, thought provoking and regal awards ceremony held at the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ in Amsterdam on the evening of Saturday 7 May 2011. The awards evening drew to a close when HRH Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands, royal patron of World Press Photo, presented to the South African photographer Jodi Bieber with her award for World Press Photo of the Year 2010.
The awards ceremony marked the end of the two-day celebration of the very best in press photography from around the world that had included presentations from 47 of the prize-winning photographers at the Felix Meritis venue in downtown Amsterdam. Amongst the presentations was a relaxed yet riveting Sem Presser lecture delivered by US photographer David Alan Harvey (Magnum Photos) who reached back to his photographic roots to showcase his first ever photo album, shot at the tender age of 14.
Near to the start of the awards ceremony a moment of silent contemplation hung in the air as large portraits of the recently deceased photojournalists Tim Hetherington, who won World Press Photo of the Year in 2007, and Chris Hondros (Getty images) were beamed onto the huge screen as their friends and colleagues paid respect.
The Managing Director of World Press Photo, Michiel Munneke, then called the winners of the 2011 World Press Photo Contest on stage for a prize giving ceremony carried out by photojournalist David Burnett (chair of the 2011 World Press Photo Contest jury) and Pieter Broertjes (Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the World Press Photo Foundation).
A new element to the ceremony was the inaugural Follow Your Convictions Grant, sponsored by watchmaker Maurice Lacroix, and it saw Italian photographer Davide Monteleone win a €20,000 grant for his planned project 'Revered See’ that will focus on the history, civilisations and cultures along the shore of the Mediterranean Sea.
There then followed an on-stage debate, hosted by BBC journalist Allan Little, with photojournalists David Burnett, Seamus Murphy and Daniel Morel, which concluded with Burnett quoting the late John Durniak (former Picture Editor of The New York Times and Time magazine): “Pound for pound the photojournalist is the most efficient and dynamic information gathering machine there is.”
The other inaugural award presented during the ceremony was the World Press Photo Multimedia Contest – it was won by 'The Home Front’, a production with photography by Marcus Yam, and produced by Nancy Donaldson, Catrin Einhorn and Meaghan Looram for The New York Times. It told the story of two boys who struggle to adjust to life at home in the USA whilst their single parent father is deployed in the US Army in Afghanistan.
Following an address by HRH Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands, royal patron of World Press Photo, the author of the World Press Photo of the Year 2010, Jodi Bieber received her award, a cash prize of €10,000 and a Canon EOS DSLR camera and lens kit that was presented to her onstage by Kieran Magee, Professional Photo Marketing Director, Canon Europe.
Bieber then addressed the audience and made an emotional plea for the international community to focus on fellow South African photographer Anton Hammerl who has been missing in Libya for over a month, once again highlighting the high risk situations that photojournalists around the world put themselves in on a daily basis.