We were lucky enough to be invited to the launch of the World Press Photo’s 2018 exhibition, which arrived in Singapore at the National Museum. Local partner, the Straits Times, presented what has become known as the ‘Oscars’ of photojournalism, on its seventh time in Singapore and third return to the National Museum.

Boko Haram Strapped Suicide Bombs to Them. Somehow These Teenage Girls Survived.
© Adam Ferguson, for The New York Times

Showcasing 161 prize-winning photographs, chosen by the judges from a staggering 73,000 submissions from 4,548 photographers, from 125 countries.   The jury, who always decides on the photos anonymously (the photographers identities are not revealed), awarded prizes to 42 of the photographers. The award winning pieces came from 22 countries around the world and were chosen because they best captured the most powerful, poignant and provocative news images. Unfortunately, entries from women still only make up about 16% of the submissions and there were only 5 female photographers that won any of the prizes this year. However, the World Press Photo Foundation are doing their best to encourage more women to submit each year by partnering with associations like the International Women’s Media Foundation to better support female photojournalists from around the world.

Waiting For Freedom
© Neil Aldridge

The exhibition was opened by Ms Chang Hwee Nee, CEO of the National Heritage Board and Warren Fernandez, Editor-in-Chief of the Straits Times and we were fortunate to be invited on a tour of the exhibition with the two dignitaries, given by World Press Photo’s curator and programmer, Ms Yi Wen Hsia. We learned that the exhibition now has eight categories including an environment category this year. The exhibition is to showcase the stories that matter around the globe and the exhibition captures the mood through stories of tragedy, jubilation, degradation, empowerment, the shocking and the heart-warming, leaving the viewer with an understanding of the often graphic images that highlight global issues outside of their immediate sphere, affecting all of us.  The World Press Photo exhibition shows how crucial it is to support and facilitate photo journalism, educate the public and encourage debate, using well researched and journalistically reliable stories.  This year features stories such as the Rohingya crisis, terrorism in London,  right -wing violence in Charlottesville, US and the anti-presidential protests in Caracas among others.

Wasteland © Kadir van Lohuizen, NOOR Images

The World Press Photo exhibition is photojournalism at its best.  It creates the opportunity to start discussions, enliven debates and encourage self directed learning. By giving the audience an opportunity for reflection on global issues like the environmental sustainability, political turmoil and women’s empowerment.  We can see, through the lens of these incredible photographers, the stories that resonated around the world this year and last. Many of them that might not have been widely reported in the places that we live. This is always a powerful exhibition,  thats free so there’s no excuse not to go and see it. Don’t miss it.

The Battle for Mosul
© Ivor Prickett, for The New York Times

Look out for the free talks and debates on photojournalism, coming up in the exhibitions programme over the next few weeks by Singapore’s Kevin Lim, Patrick Brown, Wong Maye-E and others here. The exhibition will run till 28th October 2018 at the National Museum of Singapore. Cover image: Title: Venezuela Crisis © Ronaldo Schemidt, Agence France-Presse.

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