Photographer Giovanni Troilo’s controversial prize-winning entry to the World Press Photo competition is under new scrutiny today because of reports that Troilo did not shoot one of the images where he said he shot it, according to Lars Boering, Managing Director of World Press Photo.
Troilo had said his project, “The Dark Heart of Europe,” winner of 1st prize stories in the Contemporary Issues category, was shot in Charleroi, a town near Brussels.
But a journalist investigating the project in the wake of controversy it has generated has reported that one of the images was shot in Brussels, which is 50 km from Carhleroi.
“There’s new information out now that one photo was shot 50 kilometers away from Charleroi,” Boering says. Bruno Stevens, a Belgian photojournalist, announced the finding on his Facebook page.
“Of course this is going to be looked at again,” says Boering, who has been on the hot seat for several days over the controversy surrounding the Troilo project and prize.
The controversy began with questions about whether Troilo had misled the World Press Photo jury about the project and how he had shot it.
In particular, questions have been raised about whether Troilo staged a photograph of a couple having sex at night in a car. One of the subjects in the photograph turned out to be Troilo’s cousin, and Troilo says he placed a flashlight in the car with the subjects’ consent to help him light the picture. According to its own contest rules, World Press Photo “requires photojournalists do not stage pictures to show something that would otherwise have not taken place.”
But World Press Photo has defended Troilo and the jury’s decision to award him the prize, on the grounds that Troilo argued the photo was not “staged,” because the photograph depicted something the subjects normally do.
*Update: Visa Pour l’Image director general Jean-Francois Leroy announced March 4 on Facebook that the photo festival will not mount the traveling exhibition of World Press Photo winners at the Perpignan photo festival this summer. “The photojournalists we want to represent do not call upon their cousins to fornicate in a car,” Leroy said in a statement explaining the decision. “It is a painful decision. But the values we stand for are non-negotiable.”