If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then everyone who visits the World Press Photo Contest’s traveling exhibition will have plenty to digest. That’s because the WPPC, which runs at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography from June 16-Aug. 5, features the best photojournalism of 2006 from lensmen and women around the world. The event, now recognized as the world’s largest and most prestigious annual press photo contest, visits 45 countries and is attended by more than 2 million visitors.
The contest itself brings together pictures from every corner of the globe (this year, the WPP received almost 80,000 photos from 4,460 photographers from 124 countries) and aims to highlight the importance of photojournalism and support press snappers.
For the contest, a panel of 13 judges — comprising picture editors, photographers and representatives from press agencies — rates the works based on journalistic value and creative skill. Next, the judges pick the best in each of the 10 categories (including sports action, contemporary and people in the news) separated into two subsets, “singles” and “photo stories.” Finally, the judges award the World Press Photo of the Year, the most sought-after international award for photojournalism.
This year’s grand award went to American Spencer Platt of Getty Images. His photo, taken on Aug. 15, 2006, on the first day of the Israeli-Hezbollah ceasefire, portrays a group of young Lebanese driving through a war-ravaged neighborhood in South Beirut. All the first-place award winners and the Photo of the Year winner receive cash prizes.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, 1-13-3 Mita, Meguro-ku, is situated inside Ebisu Garden Place, Tokyo (tel.  3280 0031). Admission to the exhibition is 700 yen.