World Press Photo Awards 2011

Came a bit late to the London exhibition this year, in the foyer of the Royal Festival Hall as usual, and it’s only on for a few more days now.

World Press Photo Awards Website

A lot of the photos were familiar to me this year.

If you can’t get to an exhibition there is an iPad app, for $5-ish.

Overall though, I’m not sure whether I’d recommend going. Beautiful photos of terrible events. Does the aesthetic power make those terrible events more or less relevant or interesting? Does a beautifully composed, exposed, focussed, coloured, etc image of a head in Mexico (sans body) have more impact than a “straight” BW documentary image?

Or the winning image this year of a woman in Afghanistan with her nose cut off. The image is composed and lit like a professional portrait. Can we really get desensitised to this? Does the contrast help or is it simply a sensational mis-application of technique? Should this kind of photography get prizes?

Anyway, the experience is pretty nasty and unsettling. Don’t take young kids!!

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