John Stanmeyer’s shot of immigrants in Djibouti trying to get cheaper mobile phone signals from neighboring Somalia was the worthy winner of this year’s World Press Photo of the year. The winning photo subtly conveying ongoing debates about immigration, poverty, technology and globalization. In a year where global conflicts and disaster continued to be grim and macabre muses recognizing the simplicity and hopefulness of Stanmeyer’s winning shot offers an alternative direction for photographers. Especially as news in general is an area where sensationalizing human misery is becoming the norm, and making the spectator sad has proven to be an effective way to garner critical attention. This makes the hope that can be felt in Stanmeyer’s that much more refreshing.
To have a winning photo asking questions of modernity is perhaps fitting at a time when the industry is grappling with the pace of technological advances and what it means for the credible portrayal of global events. Digital manipulation of images, even slight alterations is becoming a more contentious issue for the competition. This year according to chairman Gary Knight 8% of the final round images were disqualified after being reviewed by an outside expert who found the RAW files to have been changed. Knight lamented, “As a photographer, I reacted with real horror and considerable pain because some of the changes were materially trivial but they were ethically significant. In every single case it was a meaningless and stupid process. None of the photographers improved their work and if they hadn’t done it they may well have been up for consideration.”
In other news related to the competition Petapixel have translated a post by hastalosmegapixeles featuring the above pie charts. The charts depict what cameras were used by photographers in the final list. First, it seems that Canon 1DX dominates in general terms. Second, perhaps echoing what was said in yesterdays posting of the Nikon execs’ interview mirrorless cameras were nowhere compared to DSLRs. Overwhelming DSLRs remain the weapon of choice for professionals.
What do you think? Worthy winner? Are mirrorless dead?