The World in Images
The World Press Photo (WPP) contest, the epitome of photojournalists' and documentary photographers' honours, draws the most striking images from across the world, and to see the best of them at one place can be quite an experience.
“15”, an interactive exhibition of winning photos from the 2015 edition of the competition is no short of spectacular, taking the viewer through all the happenings of the world in one gallery walk. The exhibition opened on December 30 at the Drik Gallery in the capital, by Guest of Honour Leoni Margaretha Cuelenaere, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Dhaka. Eminent photographer Nasir Ali Mamun and WPP Project Manager (Exhibitions) Anaïs Conijn were present as special guests. Shahidul Alam, Managing Director of Drik, delivered welcome note at the opening ceremony.
The photos – chosen from 97,912 entries from 5,692 photographers from 131 countries through rigorous judging by an esteemed panel, tell incredible stories, in various formats. General News, Spot News, Sports, Contemporary Issues, Daily Life, People Nature, Long-Term Projects – Individual and Long-Term Projects – Group are the categories, and the biggest happenings of 2014 come up in the images: be it the political crises in Ukraine or Gaza, the dissolution of the Arab Spring, Syria's demolition, Islamic State's brutalities, the FIFA World Cup, Flight MH17, the abduction of the 276 Nigerian girls – are brought to life in vivid, layered and often jarring images. Massimo Sestini's (Italy) overhead image of a boat crammed with refugees off the Libyan coast is another almost overwhelming photograph, as are Pete Muller's images of the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, Jerome Sessini's nearly-surreal image of an ill-fated flight MH17 passenger lying in a wheat field near the Russia-Ukraine border, strapped to a jettisoned airplane seat, or Chinese photographer Bao Tailiang's capture of Argentine football superstar Leonel Messi's forlorn look at the World Cup after his teams loss to Germany in the FIFA World Cup final.
The documentary photographs are equally, if not more, remarkable. The first-prize winner in Long-Term Projects, US photographer Darcy Padilla's “Family Love” is an unbelievable personal story of Julie Baird and her struggles with HIV, poverty, complex relationships, multiple homes, relationships, births and deaths – documented over a staggering 21 years (1993-2014). The lingering effects of the Iraq-Iran War (1980-88) three decades in, by Fatemah Behboudi, or Lu Guang's stark juxtaposition of development and pollution in China are also of note.
Bangladesh did find a place in the World Press Photo contest and exhibition, as it has commendably done quite consistently in the past few years. Munem Wasif was elected as one of the jury members of the prestigious contest, while Sarker Protick won second prize in the Daily Life (Stories) category, with a project called “What Remains”, in which he portrayed his elderly, ailing grandparents and the idea of ageing.
The exhibition, which remains open till January 8, also gives an immersive option to the viewer, where they can scan a QR code to go more in-depth of the story through interviews and more images.