This year’s World Press Photo seems to be dominated by stories. The themes are set up so you may feel as if you’re immersed in a graphic novel. Prepare to spend some time to get the full experience. We barely covered it in an hour. One lady was led away by her family, vowing to return on her own.
The winning photo was part of a series on the migrant caravan. This photo had the power to cause a public uprising and change government policy. It was lucky. The public got to see it. Other award-winning photos will remain in obscurity. This exhibit is your chance to expand your perspective on the world.
The press goes where the action is, and we usually associate this with the scrums and war zones. The exhibit covers these areas with unvarnished truth through the lens. Submissions are not allowed to be altered. The images can be harsh and disturbing.
But there are other more hopeful things going on in the world. Watch out for the rise of Franco-African fashion from Senegal, thanks to designer Adama Paris.
Woman empowerment takes on a new dimension in the Akashinga rangers in Zimbabwe.
Make love not war is no longer a hopeful cliché for former FARC guerilla members in Columbia.
We get to watch nature maintain its balance without interaction with humans.
Our interactions with nature have some positive stories as well. Bob the Flamingo’s story is a fun read and ends with everyone living happily ever after.
But not all our interactions with nature work out well. There are often unintended consequences. The plight of Mexican organic honey producers had Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi lyrics stuck in my head. “Hey farmer farmer…”
Other unintended consequences are heartbreaking for us as humans. We are used to hearing these stories, but it is good to be reminded of them as the regional tragedies continue.
My last impression of the exhibit was that so many of the photos are emblematic. I found myself mentally writing captions for them. In the Migrant Caravan story, there is a picture of a girl in a bank of flowers. In Contemporary Issues, there’s an Afghan refugee picture which looks biblical. And in General News, there’s an African picture of a man escaping the gas behind him which looks eerily like the Vietnamese “napalm girl”. I’ll let you create your own captions during your visit.
The winning photographs of the World Press Photo Exhibition 2019 will be on display in the Canadian War Museum’s Barney Danson Theatre (1 Vimy Place, Ottawa) from July 19 to August 11, 2019, during museum’s open hours: Monday to Wednesday 9am-5pm, Thursday 9am-8pm, Friday to Sunday 9am-5pm. Admission to the exhibit is free. See the museum’s website for more information.