@ Samuel Aranda

@ Samuel Aranda

The announcement of the World Press Photo of the Year 2012 winner is now less than 24 hours away. Speculation is ripe: Which international news story will be depicted in the photo that wins the top prize?  The conflict in Mali, or Syria? Protests against austerity measures in Greece? Political unrest in Egypt? Hurricane Sandy?

The other question is: How will the news story be depicted? Since 1955, most of the World Press Photo winners have shown lone individuals who symbolize a larger story: a single grieving or injured or dead individual standing in for many who were left grieving, injured or dead by a conflict or natural disaster.  Only twice have the winning images shown groups of people in danger.   The number of winning images that depict  women in moments of grave danger, distress or overwhelming grief have far outnumbered the number of photos that show men in similar situations.  Women, alone or in groups, are usually shown as the passive bystanders to conflict or disaster.

© Jodi Bieber/Institute Management/Goodman Gallery for Time

© Jodi Bieber/Institute Management/Goodman Gallery for Time

That trend shifted in the past three years. The women subjects of the last three World Press Photo winners are depicted not as victims but as survivors. Take for example, photographer Jodi Bieber’s 2010 World Press Photo of the Year, the portrait of Bibi Aisha, the Afghan woman whose nose and ears were cut off as retribution for fleeing her husband’s home. Aisha looks calmly into the camera lens. In the 2009 World Press Photo of the Year, taken by Pietro Masturzo of AP,  a woman shouts from a rooftop in Tehran, Iran, after the results of her country’s disputed election results were announced. This defiant woman is a stand-in for the many citizens from all walks of life who took to the streets to protest the election. Last year’s winning image, by Samuel Aranda, shows a woman in a hospital – not an uncommon motif among World Press Photo winners – but the Pieta-like composition shows a woman, her face covered by a veil, giving comfort to a family member injured in the violence in Yemen.

So will the winner announced tomorrow depict conflict, disaster or triumph, through a single person – maybe a man? –or a group? What’s your guess for what story – and what kind of symbol – will win?

Related articles:
Samuel Aranda Wins 2011 World Press Photo of the Year

Jodi Bieber Wins 2010 World Press Photo of the Year


COMMENTS

MORE POSTS

Mathieu Asselin, Dayanita Singh Win 2017 Paris Photo-Aperture PhotoBook Prizes

Posted by on Thursday November 16, 2017 | Awards/Contests/Grants

Monsanto: A Photographic Investigation, by Mathieu Asselin.

Mathieu Asselin’s book Monsanto: A Photographic Investigation has won the $10,000 First PhotoBook Prize in the 2017 Paris Photo—Aperture Foundation PhotoBook awards. Published by Verlag Kettler and Acte Sud, the book combines original photos, old Monsanto ads and archival material about the pesticide manufacturer. Dayanita Singh won PhotoBook of the Year for Museum Bhavan, her... More

Getty Images Announces Instagram Grant Winners

Posted by on Thursday October 26, 2017 | Awards/Contests/Grants

Getty Images and Instagram have awarded $10,000 grants to three emerging photographers who use the social media platform to share stories of underrepresented communities: Nina Robinson (@arkansasfamilyalbum) photographers her family and their community in rural Arkansas. Saumya Khandelwal’s (@khandelwal_saumya) images follow the daily lives of young girls in Uttar Pradesh, India who are forced into... More

Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award Goes to Brent Stirton for Rhino Poaching Photo

Posted by on Wednesday October 18, 2017 | Awards/Contests/Grants

South African photojournalist Brent Stirton’s grisly image of a de-horned black rhinoceros, killed by poachers in South Africa’s Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park, won him Wildlife Photographer of the Year honors in the annual competition sponsored by the Natural History Museum, London. Stirton was honored Wednesday evening in a ceremony at the Natural History Museum. His image... More