A monk in Vietnam calmly sets himself ablaze as a protest in 1963. A man stands defiantly in front of a tank during China’s Tiananmen Square incident in 1989. Both these images have stuck in our collective minds and have won the World Press Photography (WPP) organization’s top award.
The Amsterdam-based WPP holds an annual contest to find the best news photo of the year. The nonprofit organization then tours the winning photo and a selection of nominees to cities all over the world. The exhibition arrived in Tokyo in June and will also tour Western Japan before wrapping up in November.
This year’s winning image, a portrait of an Afghan woman whose face was severely disfigured as punishment for fleeing her abusive husband, comes from South African photographer Jodi Bieber. The image is difficult to look at, as are many of the pictures at the exhibition. Parents may want to exercise caution if taking children. However, for educational purposes, this is a great opportunity to teach young people about current events.
Judges awarded 54 photographers in nine categories that include news, sport and nature. While no prizes went to Japanese photographers, a shot of swans in Hokkaido by Italy’s Stefano Unterthiner made the cut.
World Press Photo 2010 is being held at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo, till Aug. 8; at Osaka Umeda Herbis Hall in Osaka on Aug. 9-18; Museum for World Peace in Kyoto on Sept. 21-Oct. 16; Ritsumeikan University in Kusatsu, Shiga Prefecture, on Oct. 18-Nov. 3; and Oita, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in Beppu, Oita Prefecture on Nov. 6-20. For more information visit www.syabi.com.