World Press Photography Exhibition
On Tuesday we went to the World Press Photography Exhibition in the CHQ in Dublin. We left the town at 9:00am and reached the city at around 11. The year was split into two groups because all 81 of us couldn’t fit in the space for the exhibition. The first group went downstairs to look at the photos. Meanwhile, the other group made a small detour to Starbucks. The World Press Photography Exhibition highlights the best examples of photojournalism in the world. Each picture has a story behind it, some evident and some less so, but all powerful. All the prize-winning photographs are assembled into an exhibition that travels to 45 countries over the course of a year, and published in the World Press Photo yearbook. These photos are showcased in over 100 different venues worldwide seen by over two million people.
Professional photographers from 124 countries entered 78,083 photos into the competition in 2014 alone. The competition is of a very high standard and is judged by a jury of international professionals. The overall winner for 2014 was called Signal and it depicted a group of people lifting their phones up to the sky in search of a signal. The back-story to this is that African migrants on the shores of Djibouti, a stop off point for those leaving countries such as Ethiopia and Somalia in search of a better life in Europe and The Middle-East, are looking for a cheap signal from neighbouring Somalia in order to contact family and friends from home. This picture is very powerful in that the story behind it has a deep meaning, but in my opinion it wasn’t the winner. However, I am not one of the world’s leading photographers, so I am certainly not the best person to judge the winner of the competition.
My personal favourite was one in the series Massacre at the Westgate Mall. This series shows pictures from the attack on a mall in Nairobi, Kenya in September of last year. A Somali jihadist group claimed responsibility for the four day siege which killed at least 60 people and injured up to 200. It was my favourite because it made me unbelievably angry. The caption on the photo below read, “A member of the security forces pursues the assailants.” The reason I was so angered was that the photographer completely ignored the dead body surrounded by blood on the floor. Whether he merely chose not to focus on it or he did it purposely to put across the message that our society has become so desensitised to blood and gore that it doesn’t even affect us, I’m not sure. I presume the latter as it caused a reaction in me that I certainly didn’t expect and this was probably what the photographer was looking for when he captioned the photo.
I really loved the World Press Photography Exhibition because it was such a beautiful and varied set of photos. No story was the same and every single one was important. I feel that this show brings the world together through opening our eyes about things we never knew about before and making things we see on the news much more real. The world is not a big place. Things, good and bad, happen all around it every single day and most of us have absolutely no idea. All of these things being brought to my attention was the main reason why I loved this Transition Year trip so much. It was an amazing experience and, considering I had never heard of the exhibition before, one that I most likely wouldn’t have gotten outside of Transition Year.