As freedom of information, enquiry and speech are increasingly under threat, World Press Photo reminds us why quality visual photojournalism is vital
“The important thing is to tell meaningful stories that bring us closer together,” said World Press Photo Chair of the General Jury Stuart Franklin at the World Press Photo Festival of Visual Journalism, which took place in Amsterdam in April 2017. “They should infect us and get inside so we can understand people’s struggles through the medium of photography.”
This is why the World Press Photo festival exists – to celebrate some of the world’s best visual storytellers and their moving photojournalism.
This year’s competition was fierce with 80,408 images from 5034 photographers in 125 countries submitted. The jury gave prizes in eight categories to 45 exceptional photographers.
But the festival is not just about awards, it’s about pushing boundaries in visual journalism with new technology and techniques. Canon has been at the forefront of the latest developments in streamlining the photographer business model with wi-fi, low-light capabilities and a strong support network helping photographers to tell their stories. “Canon has gotten gear to me in very remote places,” said Brent Stirton, Nature category first prize stories winner. “And the capabilities of my Canon cameras have been a real blessing – I can finally do stuff in low light that I couldn’t before.”
But these technological innovations aren’t just limited to product features or services, they also encompass alternative ways of digesting photography. “People are starting to realise the positive sides of VR and 360 photography,” said Magnus Wennman, People category singles first prize winner. “The most important thing to remember is that a good story is always a good story, no matter how you tell it: sometimes it’s still, sometimes it’s video, sometimes it’s 360. You have to keep your mind open and be able to work with all these different mediums.”