World Press Photo of the Year 2008

World Press Photo is a non-profit foundation that organizes (in their own words) the world’s largest and most prestigious annual press photography contest. Each year the winning photographs are presented to the public in a traveling exhibition as well as being printed in a yearbook.

Luckily the exhibit was also shown in Hamburg and yesterday I went to see it. I didn’t expect much art or many “pretty pictures” in a journalistic competition, but I still came out with very mixed feelings. While there were some great images there and some that stop you in your tracks and make you think, I would still rate many of the others as bad or boring. Yes, the photographers put themselves in grave danger to get many of these photos. And yes, some images illustrate important and very sad events of 2008. But does a mediocre photograph of an important event deserve to become the winner in a news category?

Oh well, I guess I don’t really get the genre, but I still think it was a good idea to see the exhibit. I think you grow as a photographer also by looking at and pondering images that do not necessarily turn you on…