By Isabel Ovalle
It is said a picture is worth a thousand words. This is borne out by the World Press Photo 13 exhibition, which is on in Doha until June 5, aiming to inform and inspire an understanding of the world through photographs.
The annual show is held at about 100 venues all over the world, with 15 sets of the exhibition travelling to various cities. This is the third time it has come to Doha. It is being held at the premises of hosts Qatar Photographic Society, located in building 18 of Katara Cultural Village.
This year’s event includes more than 150 photographs, including the winning photo and award-winning images from each of the nine categories in the World Press Photo Contest.
Each year, photojournalists, photo agencies, newspapers and magazines from all corners of the world submit entries in the nine categories: Spot News, General News, Sport Action, Sport Features, Contemporary Issues, Daily Life, Observed Portraits, Staged Portraits and Nature.
An independent international jury, consisting of 19 members, judges the entries. This year’s competition attracted 5,666 photographers from 124 countries, but there were no Qatari participants. In total, 103,481 images were entered in the contest.
The jury of the 56th World Press Photo Contest selected a picture by Paul Hansen of the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter as the World Press Photo of the Year 2012. The picture shows a group of men carrying the bodies of two children through a street in Gaza City. Two-year-old Suhaib Hijazi and his elder brother Muhammad, almost four, are being carried by their uncles to a mosque for their funeral while their father’s body is carried behind on a stretcher.
Suhaib and Muhammad were killed when their house was destroyed in an Israeli missile strike. Their injured mother was put in intensive care in a hospital. The picture was taken on November 20, 2012 in Gaza City, Palestinian Territories.The jury gave prizes in the nine categories to 54 photographers from 33 countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Jordan, Malaysia, Mexico, Palestinian Territories, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, USA, and Vietnam.
Many images exhibited this year are from the siege of Aleppo in the Syrian civil war. Among them are two photos by Javier Manzano from Mexico, winner of the third prize singles for Spot News Stories. One of them transports the viewer to the side of Free Syrian Army rebels just after their entry into Aleppo, Syria’s largest city. Another of his shots shows a rebel fighter examining the impact of a rocket propelled grenade, giving a glimpse of the destruction in the commercial capital of the country.
Other shots show Barcelona on March 29, 2012, the day of a general strike in Spain, in a photo by Emilio Moneratti, and gangs in El Salvador, in Tomas Munita’s photo, which won the third prize stories award in the Daily Life category.
The happier shots are from the Sport Action category, like those of the Australian synchronised swimming team at the London Olympic Games, taken by Wei Zheng from China, and of sumo wrestlers, taken by Dennis Rouvre from France, in the Sport Features category.
Ahmed Yousef Al Khulaifi, chairman of Qatar Photographic Society, said, “the exhibition will be here for about three weeks. We invite everyone to come to Building 18. I recommend starting with the sad photos and concluding with the happy ones in the left wing.”
Information is provided alongside the images, while an Exhibition Guide in English is also available. For the 2013 exhibition tour, World Press Photo is offering a free and updated mobile Exhibition Guide. This application, which is available for both iOS and Android smartphones, enables users to learn more about the exhibited photographs. It enhances the viewers’ experience by allowing them to listen to captions, read the photographers’ biographies and find out more about the equipment used. After their visit, guests can view their favourite photos again and continue the experience online.