Pulitzer-winning photojournalist, and winner of several World Press Photo Awards (19751, 19862) slams the selection of the 2009 World Press Photo winners:
The World Press Photo of the Year is stunning for its lack of content or any other journalistic values. The jury’s selection is yet another setback for a profession that is already in deep trouble. If that was the best of the best, they should have made no selection at all, and I’m hoping next year will bring a more professional group of jurors.
‘The photo shows the beginning of something, the beginning of a huge story,’ jury chair Ayperi Karabuda Ecer said of the photo. Right. Well how about showing pictures of the story itself, and there were plenty of powerful images from the Iranian protests, if that was what they wanted to show.
A fellow photographer said it was like seeing a photo of Paul Revere putting on his shoes before his midnight ride. There are those of us who still want to see the ride, not the’haunting and eerily prescient’ prelude.
Kennerly further elaborated in a later comment:
To further amplify my thoughts on the Photo of the Year… This is nothing personal about the photographer who won, he was there, and I admire him for it, but in my estimation there were other way more worthy photographs. If you just scan the other categories, there were ample opportunities to choose a great photograph from among them.
If the judges wanted to recognize Iran upheaval coverage, they had only to look at AFP photographer Olivier Laban-Mattel’s 2nd place Spot News Story for a winner. He was right there on top of it, wide angle in hand, putting his life on the line, and has fantastic photos to show for his courage. Any of his were better than what was chosen, and oh yes, they told the story, as opposed to being some ambiguous moment taken from afar of people doing who knows what on the top of a darkened roof above Tehran.
And there were many other strong contenders among the other categories’Charles Ommanney’s wonderful Obama photo as he waited, eyes closed, to make entrance for his swearing-in, Julie Jacobson’s dying Marine in Afghanistan, David Guttenfelder’s soldiers under fire, Walter Astrada’s bloodbath in Magagascar, and on and on. The photos were there, honored as winners in the specialized categories, but overlooked by a jury who might as well have been judges from another planet.
About time someone spoke up on the quality of the awards.