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World Press Photo Exhibition 2009

Fair warning: Some links in this post may be to violent images.

centre ceramique world press photo exhibit 2009

People viewing the exhibit.

If you expect to be spending any time in Maastricht during the month of November, I strongly encourage you to visit the Centre Ceramique library to view the traveling World Press Photo exhibition. World Press Photo is a nonprofit organization that hosts a photojournalism competition every year. Out of nearly 100,000 submissions about 300 images are selected to represent the events of the previous year through professional photography and journalism. About half of the winning images are now touring throughout the world (45 countries, 100 cities), bringing provocative and thoughtful images to the public forum. Thursday evening, Dan and I had the pleasure of viewing the traveling exhibit complete with a guided tour here in Maastricht.
world press photo exhibit 2009

A taste of the exhibition.

The exhibit currently laid out at the library contains images from a variety of the winning categories. The World Press Photo foundation selects individual images and stories of images within the typical categories you might find in newspapers and magazines (spot news, portrait, politics, sports, nature, etc.). Some of the most striking images were from the earthquake in China during 2008 and the political violence in Kenya over the election. More lighthearted images included photos from the Obama campaign and sports images from the Olympics.
World Press Photo exhibit, Olympics photos

The tour guide discusses the images of Olympic divers.

The exhibition is also traveling with its own knowledgeable tour guides and the one-hour tour we took of the images really brought out the dimensions of the intent of the photographers and the relevance of the exhibition itself. The guide was able to give us more background on why the images were taken and how they were taken. She also told us that the winning photographers were brought together to discuss their images and that some of those discussions are available to anyone on their website. One hour was not really enough for me to look at the photos completely (we had to jump around a lot) and I hope to take a closer look before the exhibit moves on.
World Press Photo 2009, Photo of the Year

Photo of the Year 2008

Of course the highlight of the World Press Photo contest is the selection of the 2008 Photo of the Year. This image is intended to encapsulate or represent an event so influential that it affected the entire year. This year the judges decided that the most influential event was the economic recession as represented by the foreclosure crisis in the United States. The winning black and white photo is of a police officer searching the abandoned, foreclosed home of an elderly couple for squatters or homeless people. The image of the uniformed man with gun outstretched is reminiscent of the military images constantly seen in true wartime and conflict photography. It is a pessimistic view of the year 2008.
The exhibition will be available in Maastricht until November 29th. You can also view the exhibit in the Netherlands in Groningen at Der Aa-Kerk from November 6th through the 29th. You can find other venues on the website, but the exhibits has already toured in the United States. For more winning photographs and interviews, you can visit the World Press Photo foundation’s website.

2 Responses to “World Press Photo Exhibition 2009”

  1. Alison says:

    I saw the exhibit earlier in the year when it was here in Utrecht. It was incredibly moving at times and definitely worth a visit. I didn’t realize they had guides for it, although I had looked fairly extensively at the website before going, so I had a decent understanding of why certain images were chosen, etc.

  2. locusta says:

    I think that the tour was a one or two time event and I don’t know if they have done them in each location.