Monday, February 25, 2008

2007 World Press Photo Awards

This was one of my favorite posts of 2007 (tragically they redid the website and all of my links send you to the homepage) and I've been waiting for the winners of this year's contest to be released. They were a couple of weeks ago but I never had a chance to really go through them and write them up.

Well, here it is. This is the link to all of this year's winners if you'd rather browse on your own but I'll be pointing out a few of my favorites or thoughts on them.
First, the overall winner is this photo of an American soldier resting in Afghanistan. The look on face seems to sum up the country's weariness with these wars. I think it's a pretty good shot and, much like last year, I like it better the more I think about it.

There are three gripping shots of violent moments in the Spot News category. Benazir Bhutto's assassination and election violence in Zimbabwe and Kenya. In contrast to the fear and confusion in the first three is the almost beautiful imagery of rocket fire against the sunset in Gaza.

The 2nd place photo in General News had somewhat of a similar approach. The shapes in the dirt from the drawing and the shoes give an interesting abstract view but the reality of the shot is quite different. I also really like this shot of the German Army sniper practice target in Afghanistan. It reminded me of some of the street art (not the best example but you get the idea...) you'd see on Wooster Collective.

I loved this shot of Benazir Bhutto. Something about the hidden eyes and what it might say about the different roles she had to play as a female opposition leader in a muslim country.

The Contemporary issues category had some really powerful images. I remember this story from Newsweek on the slaughter of several mountain gorillas in the Congo, victims of anti-gay violence in Hungary, and an example of the struggle much of world faces with malaria.

Amazing use of silhouettes in this shot and this one. The 2nd also has some beautiful uses of color.

Old Vladimir wins the portrait category. Those are supposedly the eyes that Bush looked into a saw that his soul was good. I'm not so sure...

This one reminded me a bit of the Stankonia album cover.

Surreal nature shot. Great detail on this one.

There's a lot to talk about in the Stories categories.

First is an amazing series of images from before, during, and after Bhutto's assassination. It's interesting that so many winners were of her. It seems that and shots from Afghanistan were popular this year. I recently found out that my uncle had dinner with Bhutto several years ago and said she was absolutely brilliant. I also found that that one of my friends used to pick on Musharreff's nephew in school. So, with just two and three degrees of separation to those two maybe they should call on me to negotiate the transfer of power.

Heartbreaking shot from Kenya.

I really liked this black and white series from Afghanistan. A lot of them had a surreal quality about them.

Having never been in war I'm not sure I completely understand writing "4 Mom" and "9-11" on your mortar shells.

Anybody seen "Lord of War" or "The Last King of Scotland"? Love this shot. Another great shot but these start to bring you down after a while.

Tremendous beauty in an ugly place. Very artistic series from Colombia. Really scary image.

Birds! From a memorial of the Nanking Massacre.

Great series of the guys from Vanuatu that bungee jump from the towers tied to vines. The 2nd and 3rd place portfolios are great collections. From China and Utah.

I'd love to see what kind of lighting they used on these face shots from the finish line of the Copenhagen marathon.

What third-world country are these huts from? Immigrant dwellings in France.

All over the world we all watch TV the same. I liked this one.

Great shot of a mine entrance. Looks like heaven and hell to me.

The lesson from this story? Turkish schoolgirls are scary. Tough to get a great portrait with the eyes covered but this photographer does a great job with Iraqi detainees. Really interesting and beautiful portraits of Afghan women.

Intense photos of spiritual healing in Venezuela. Great job capturing the emotion and anguish of these ceremonies.

And finally, if anyone is still with me, National Geographic sweeps the nature category. Microscopic sea life, Narwhal, narwhal, what can you tell us?, and last gruesome polar bear killers or cute seals swimming?

Anyway, I hoped you took some time to check a few of these out. Photos from the camera of a skilled photographer can bring attention to a worthy subject and tell the story immediately in a way that words often can't.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Shawn said...

wow - great post - I felt like I just took a nice long vacation that didn't make me tired and were all high(or low)lights. I think, in general, this collection overwhelms me with the amount of life, beauty, poverty, hatred, natural abundance and human destructive powers that are at work every day. Kind of put me and my insulated little life in its place, which is a good thing, now and then. In regards to your last post- don't you think ISU could come up with something from that "rubber band" category? Anything but the Mountain Dew Cy.

12:37 AM  
Blogger Ben said...

I think if anything they're going in the 3-D direction. Although maybe I just want a Cyclone made out of dots. Lots of dots.

You made a great a point about these photos illuminating such a wide range of the human experience.

9:44 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

Also, I hope you didn't go through all these at work. That would do a number on the old bandwidth...

9:44 PM  

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