The pandemic stains the World Press Photo

  • The CCCB opens the exhibition with the best images of photojournalists from around the world taken in the year of the covid

  • In addition to the health crisis, the contest has awarded scenes of social unrest such as Black Lives Matter or the refugee drama

A California sea lion swimming towards a floating mask (image of Ralph Pace); a high-speed train car adapted as a hospital transporting covid patients towards Paris, or a funeral home worker protected with a PPE transferring a coffin in a narrow elevator (photos by Laurence Geal); the body of a coronavirus victim in Indonesia, totally wrapped in a plastic for toxic waste before the lack of body bags in April 2020 (photo by Joshua Irwandi); or the snapshot, “symbol of hope”, taken by the Danish Mads Nissen, winner of the World Press Photo Photo of the Year award: the first hug in five months that an 85-year-old woman received from a residence in Sao Paulo, Brazil, given by a nurse, both protected by a plastic curtain. These are some of the images that can be seen until November 12 at the Barcelona Center for Contemporary Culture (CCCB) and that have been awarded in the annual contest of the best photojournalism, in an edition “tainted by the pandemic”, has verified Sílvia Omedes, director of the Photographic Social Vision Foundation that celebrates 17 years organizing the exhibition of the Catalan capital.

Women in Yemen

4,315 photographers from 130 countries participated in the World Press Photo with 74,470 images, a record number. Of them, 45 professionals (the majority ‘freelance’ and, 24%, women, twice the average of previous editions), five of them, Spanish: Aitor Garmendia, Jaime Culebras, Luis Tato, Claudia Reig and the Argentine who has lived in Barcelona for years, Pablo Tosco. The latter, present at the opening of the exhibition, with a photo of Fatima, a woman from Yemen fully covered with niqab, fishing in a boat with one of her nine children. “I was able to enter the country thanks to Intermón Oxfam, who have been in an area with 7 years of armed conflict, hunger and 4 million displaced people for two and a half years, where the main victims are women, who support the family and where 30 % of the girls are forced to marry, “says Tosco, for whom it was a challenge to document the life of Fatima, without seeing her face, and discover how” she has questioned and changed the traditional role: she bought the boat and decides where and when she throws the nets, and then her husband sells the fish. ”

Less orders and trips

The World Press Photo organization has detected that due to the confinement the photojournalists saw the number of orders from the media fall and traveled much less. “More work was done at the local level, on stories of resilience and self-improvement in the intimate sphere”, Omedes explains, although in addition to the health crisis, the abuses of natural resources did not stop graphically documented, citizen protests such as the Black Lives Matter or the drama of the refugees in the Mediterranean.

For her part, the chief curator of World Press Photo, Sanne Schim van der Loeff, has advanced the reformulation of the bases of the photojournalistic contest facing the next edition, which will be available from this Thursday on the web: “There will be a change of perspective that will stop being so thematic to achieve a more regional approach (with differentiated juries for Europe, Latin America & mldr;) and with individual categories, of stories, long-term and open projects. Always without losing sight of the objective of protecting and supporting photojournalism for its “importance in documenting the truth in a time of ‘fake news’ and disinformation.” works not censored or manipulated that help society to create critical awareness and therefore to protect democracy “, Omedes concludes.

Related news

‘World Press Photo 2021’

Barcelona Center for Contemporary Culture (CCCB)

From November 11 to December 12, 2021

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