Guest post by D J Clark:
It’s a good year for the World Press Photo Multimedia contest. After two initial contests where it struggled to find its feet, this year’s crop of winners are both better produced and have a clearer sense of belonging to the prestigious international competition for photojournalists. This year there were three categories: online short, online feature and the interactive documentary.
(If you can’t wait to get to the full results, they are laid out in full on the World Press Photo website)
The winner of the short was Pep Bonet from Noor Images and the online feature Stephanie Sinclair and Jessica Dimmock from VII Photo Agency. Both contain striking still images woven together with reasonable video. The emphasis is clearly on the photography rather than the video.
The winner of the interactive documentary, ‘Alma, a Tale of Violence’ produced by a team of Miquel Dewever-Plana and Isabelle Fougère, Alexandre Brachet and Margaux Missika is a strong story told well, without the interruptions interactive documentary normally insists on.
All the winners are productions by at least two people, considered and thought provoking. They are more akin to the story categories of the still photography prize rather than the single decisive moment of a breaking news story. Deputy WPP director Maarten Koets says the competition is still open to the spot news story, they just did not receive many entries of this type. The one exception, and possibly the most controversial, is Magnum photographer Jérôme Sessini’s Aleppo Battleground, which won 3rd prize in the Online Short category. The video that documents the shooting of a Free Syria Army soldier is focused more on the photographer than the soldiers with whom he runs the sniper-ridden alleys of Aleppo. Is mixing GoPro type footage from the photographer’s headcam with still pictures that he shoots a prize-winning story? And is World Press Photo encouraging other photographers to take what appear to be extreme risks? These were two of the more heated questions that came up in a teleconference with multimedia producers and journalists given a sneak preview of the awards.
It took six days to judge the 287 multimedia entries. Jury chair Keith W. Jenkins summed up: “What we see in the winners this year is a high level of sophistication. The entries were uniformly high in quality. This is an evolving field that each year should and does produce higher quality projects.”
I agree; the competition is maturing, improving in quality and more clearly defining itself as a contest for high-end photographic influenced productions.
And…congratulations to Yang Enze, graduate from the MA Multimedia Journalism programme I teach on here in Beijing, for finding himself amongst the winners this year for his documentary about Chinese Paralympians !
What do you think?
D J Clark is course leader on the MA International Multimedia Journalism, a degree from the University of Bolton in the UK that runs at Beijing Foreign Studies University in China. He is also director of visual journalism at the Asia Center for Journalism and a contract multimedia journalist for China Daily.