Eight edition of the World Press Photo, an exhibition where are shown the photos awarded with the prestigious international prize of photojournalism. At CCCB, there are the 156 photos awarded in the 2012 edition. This year, the leitmotiv is "Sensitive Material", a catchword that invites us to reflect on the importance and the role of documentary photography today.
For the eighth year running, Photographic Social Vision is organizing the international World Press Photo exhibition at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB). This year, the show that brings together the 156 winning photographs in the prestigious international photojournalism contest includes a Catalan photographer, Samuel Aranda, as winner of the World Press Photo of the Year 2011, with a photo taken during conflicts in Yemen. Under the heading “Sensitive Material”, Photographic Social Vision offers the public the chance to keep up to date with the state of the world by means of photos that stand out for their aesthetic excellence, their informative value, their sensibility and their capacity to move the spectator.
World Press Photo is known worldwide as the foremost exhibition in the field of photojournalism for the quality of its works, and for the debate and criticism generated by the photographs presented. It is a meeting with the social, political, cultural and sports events of the past year, as well as a showcase for the best photo reporters of the moment, offering them the chance to show work that is often censored by governments and the media.
Under the hading “Sensitive Material”, we invite you to reflect on the importance and the role of documentary photography today, one of the few reliable sources in the extensive range of deliberately manipulated messages and images we consume every day. The contents of World Press Photo are a thermometer of the world social context and help to shape public awareness and historic memory. “Photojournalism affects the people who take the photos, those who look at the photos, and those who are photographed. It is vital to value and protect the practice in these times of conflict and confusion”, say the organizers.
As every year, an independent international jury of 19 members picked the winners from the photos submitted by photojournalists, agencies, newspapers and photographers all over the world. Taking part in World Press Photo 2012 were 5,247 photographers (217 of them Spanish) of 124 nationalities, who submitted 101,254 images to the contest’s 10 categories: Portraits, People in the news, General news, Spot news, Contemporary issues, Daily life, Nature, Art and Entertainment, and Sports features.
The photographer Samuel Aranda is the winner of the World Press Photo of the Year 2011.
This year’s winning photograph, by Catalan Samuel Aranda, immortalized Fatima al-Qaws holding her 18-year-old son Zayed, who is suffering from the effects of tear gas after taking part in a demonstration in the streets of Sana’a, Yemen, on 15 October 2011.
Ongoing protests against the 33-year-long regime of authoritarian President Ali Abdullah Saleh escalated that day. Witnesses said that thousands were fired on when they reached a government checkpoint near the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At least 12 people were killed and some 30 injured. Fatima, who was herself involved in resistance to the regime, found her son at a mosque that was being used as a temporary field hospital. Zayed was injured on two further occasions, as demonstrations continued. On 23 November, President Saleh flew to Saudi Arabia, and signed an agreement transferring power to his deputy, Abdurabu Mansur Hadi. Saleh’s rule ended formally when Hadi was sworn in as president, following an election, on 25 February 2012.
Much has been said of Samuel Aranda’s photograph and its surprising resemblance to Michelangelo’s Pietà. The photo is poignant but powerful, the human consequence of disproportionate action. This instant not only shows a mother holding her brave son; it has become a timeless image that conveys a message of solidarity: revolutions are possible thanks to people’s courage and at the cost of major consequences to their lives.
Samuel Aranda will present the whole reportage from which this World Press Photo 2012 winning image is taken in the exhibition “The Arab Spring”, which runs from 17 October to 31 December 2012 at Can Sisteré in Santa Coloma de Gramenet, the town where he was born.
In 2012, another Spaniard, Joan Costa, was awarded second prize in the Nature singles category. The photo shows a female of the Pterosoma planum species, photographed in the Pacific Ocean. Individuals of this predatory snail can grow up to three or four centimetres long, are carnivore and feed on fish and other snails and slugs.
World Press Photo
For over 50 years, the Dutch World Press Photo foundation has backed international photojournalism and is responsible for organizing the most prestigious photojournalism contest that tours annually to over 80 cities in 40 countries, attracting over two million visitors. Its images inform and move us, but most of all they invite us to reflect on our society. This is why World Press Photo is an exhibition with values that generates public opinion, offering a multiplicity of looks at surprising and admirable situations that come up year after year.