Last weekend, about 700 people attended the World Press Photo Festival in Amsterdam, where current and previous nominees, industry experts and other people engaged in relevant audiovisual projects spoke and organized workshops for the attendees. According to the World Press Photo Festival Communications and Engagement Manager, Barbara Bufkens, speakers were selected in order to align with the core values of the organisation: “accuracy, diversity and transparency.”
On April 14th, selected speakers announced the winners among 4,548 entry photographers at the World Press Photo Festival. Since the end of the applications, photojournalism experts have served as the jury for this year’s photography contest. “[Members of the jury] are chosen according to their expertise in relation to the specific category they have been tasked to judge,” explained Bufkens.
Ever since the public announcements of the nominated pictures, on the 14th of February, these incited controversial discussions on social platforms, users contesting the jury choices. “Disgusting photo. Nice shot but horrible post[–]production” claimed the user Oushko on Instagram about Thomas Peschak’s cliché featuring penguins.
Nonetheless, Paschak was not the only photographer whose nomination was contested. Toby Melville’s picture of the Westminster bridge attack, nominated for the World Press Photo of the Year, engendered several complaints on Instagram. The picture features an injured woman landing on the floor while being assisted by a passerby after the dreadful terrorist attack last March 2017, where 5 people lost their life. Instagram user ViatgeLovers addressed the controversy, “I don’t think this picture should be nominated nor even taken. If this women is alive, has anyone asked her about it? If she’s dead…just horrible to see this picture for her family and friends.” However, according to Bufkens, “social media does not factor into the judges’ decision.” The World Press Photo contest focuses on three core verification policy: entry check, manipulation review, and fact-checking.
In the end, Ronaldo Schemidt was designated the winner of the World Press Photo of the year. Until July 22nd, 2018, over 160 nominated photographs will be displayed at De Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam as a public event. However, the end of the 2018 World Press Photo Festival embodies the beginning of the 2019 edition, as explained by Bufkens.