Award-winning images from around the world are now on display at the Canadian War Museum for a limited time, marking the eighth year that World Press Photo has chosen Ottawa as the premier Canadian location for its annual exhibition.
“The images of World Press Photo 2015 were jury selected from among 98,000 entries submitted by close to 6,000 photojournalists from 131 countries,” explains Mark O’Neill, president and CEO of the Canadian War Museum.
“The exhibition really does present the finest work by many of the world’s top photographers.”
While a number of the images stem from news headlines last year such as the Ebola epidemic and Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which may have seemed like events taking place in the far corners of the globe, can be experienced up close and on a far more personal level.
The Netherlands’ ambassador to Canada, His Excellency Cees Kole, was present on opening night and called particular attention to the 2015 World Press Photo of the Year that shows a tender moment between two gay men in Russia’s St. Petersburg.
“Life for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual (LGBT) people is becoming increasingly difficult, not only in Russia but in many other countries as well,” says Kole.
“We need to defend and protect their rights. Even in a tolerant country, intolerance is an ever-present danger and we must remain awake,” he continues, adding that the photo is worth a thousand words.
“It reminds us…[of] the power of visual journalism.”
As visitors wander among the large displays, they are often given pause by the moments captured in the images. Some examples include a portrait by Lisa Krantz of Amorie West, dressed as a disco girl for a Halloween party, as well as Gianfranco Tripodo’s image of a migrant hiding under a vehicle to avoid capture.
“Many of these photos around us are taken by brave photographers under dangerous conditions,” says Noortje Gorter, a representative and curator for World Press Photo.
“Through their efforts, we can witness situations, events, and places that we would have never have seen otherwise.”
She explains that the judges for World Press Photo are different each year and they are brought to Amsterdam, where World Press Photo was founded in 1955, to evaluate nearly 100,000 photo entries over a period of two weeks.
Apt613: Is there a photo from this year’s exhibition that connected with you personally?
Gorter: “That’s a difficult question because there are so many striking images.
For us, at World Press Photo, what’s really special this year is a new category and it’s called Long Term Projects. It’s a new place in our contest for photographers who are working on documentary photography.
She points to black and white images by Darcy Padilla that are from The Julie Project, a collection that tells the story of Julie through drug addiction, birth, death, and reunion.
“She’s worked on this project for 20 years and I think it’s really, really special. And it’s special that we have a place in our contest to accommodate [projects like this]. So for me, the long term project is very special.”
Do you have any advice for first-time visitors?
“Yes! Definitely! Bring your smart phone. We have a tap and scan for Androids and iPhones so if you can bring it, you can find more information on the image [such as] you can hear the photographer talking about the image…you can also learn more background about the camera used, information on the country where the image was taken… so it’s not just about the image you see. It will open a lot of worlds.”
World Press Photo 2015 marks the 58th World Press Photo contest. You can see all the winners of the 2015 contest here.
The exhibition is located at the Canadian War Museum inside the Barney Danson Theatre from July 23rd to August 19th. Admission is free. Warning: World Press Photo 15 contains graphic images of nudity, violence, suffering, and death. It is strongly recommended that adults accompany and supervise children while visiting the exhibition.