The World Press Photo Awards Days 2012 took place in Amsterdam on 20 and 21 April 2012 and brought together the majority of the winning photographers from the 2012 World Press Photo Contest as well as many important decision makers from the world of professional photography. During the event CPN took the chance to interview four of the photographers who won awards, to find out what winning a World Press Photo award means, and to talk to Michael Nichols (National Geographic) who delivered the 2012 World Press Photo Sem Presser Lecture. You can view the CPN video interviews by clicking on the play button in the window below.
The winning photographers in the 2012 World Press Contest who took time out to talk to CPN were Canon Ambassador Brent Stirton (Reportage by Getty Images) who took 1st place in both the Nature (Stories) and Contemporary Issues (Singles) categories; Spanish photographer Samuel Aranda (Corbis Images), who won the overall World Press Photo of the Year and also took 1st prize in the People in the News (Singles) category; US photographer Donald Miralle Jr., who won 1st prize in the Sports (Singles) category; and Danish photographer Laerke Posselt – who still has to complete her photojournalism studies – who won 1st prize in the Portraits (Singles) category.
CPN spoke to Canon Ambassador Michael ‘Nick’ Nichols – an Editor-at-Large for National Geographic magazine – who expressed his disappointment that an environmental image has never been chosen by a jury to win the World Press Photo of the Year award. Nichols told CPN: “I have a very strong agenda about it because there’s never been an environmental winner of World Press [Photo of the Year]. It’s always war and pestilence, and it’s time for us to take seriously that the planet is a whole.”
Nichols added: “The truth is we’re in it together and if we don’t take care of nature you can’t take care of humans. I just want to be the voice that screams about that. I don’t care if anybody listens, it doesn’t matter to me if I’m heard, but I’m going to jump up and down [about this]. That’s just what I’m preaching about now.”
This argument formed the start of Nichols’ engrossing Sem Presser Lecture ‘Just a Monkey?’. The lecture's title was a reference to a comment made to Nichols during judging of the 2008 World Press Photo Contest whilst he was arguing that Brent Stirton’s iconic image of a slain silverback gorilla being carried in the Virunga National Park, eastern Congo, should be chosen as World Press Photo of the Year. Nichols delivered the lecture to a spellbound audience at the Felix Meritis building in central Amsterdam and showcased a series of films and National Geographic projects from the past 20 years, including the story of his latest, long-term project photographing lion prides in Tanzania.