World Press Photo has announced that it will launch a new contest for “creative documentary photography.” With a nod to subjective and non-traditional forms of storytelling, the contest “will reward the most imaginative ways of telling stories available,” World Press said in its announcement. The contest, which has yet to be named, is slated to open October 2017.
“This contest will not have rules limiting how images are produced,” the announcement says. “Entries can be single images or stories consisting of a series of images, and the judges will make a range of awards, with recognition for work in social documentary, personal documentary, alternative imaging, innovative presentation, amongst others, always looking for the unexpected.”
In other words, photographers will be allowed to enter images they have set up, or manipulated in post-processing. Such images are expressly prohibited from the World Press Photo Contest, which is the flagship competition of the World Press Photo Foundation. The World Press Photo Contest was plagued by scandal in 2015, when 20 percent of final round entries were disqualified for excessive manipulation, and one prize was rescinded because of a staged photo. Since then, World Press has issued new rules, guidelines and procedures to ensure that future entries to the World Press Photo Contest meet traditional ethical standards of journalism.
But the World Press Photo Foundation is acknowledging and accommodating new approaches to storytelling with its new contest.
“We have a fantastic heritage of more than 60 years that has reflected developments in image making,” World Press Photo Foundation executive director Lars Boering said in a prepared statement. “We are building on that to reward the new innovations and address the enormous challenges facing all of us in the 21st century.”
Other changes include the renaming of the World Press Multimedia Contest. It will now be called the Digital Storytelling Contest, and it will be judged at the same time as the World Press Photo Contest. (Judging for the Multimedia Contest used to follow judging for the World Press Photo Contest.)
“The Digital Storytelling Contest rewards those storytellers producing the best digital forms of visual journalism presented,” World Press said in its announcement. “Both the new name and new schedule for this contest underscore the fact that digital storytelling is now at the heart of visual journalism and deserves greater recognition.”
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