A world of images

August 26, 2009

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a whole chapter of recent history will be on display in Ottawa this summer. Between August 6 and 26, the Canadian War Museum plays host to ‘World Press Photo 09” – a display of the winning photographs from the world’s most prestigious press photography contest.

A year in pictures; an event to see.

Exposed film

Founded in Amsterdam in 1955, World Press Photo’s mission is to promote and recognize the important work of press photographers by providing opportunities for them to hone their craft and to build a dynamic international network. This is the world’s most premier photo contest, bringing together the work of the best professional photojournalists from around the globe.

Following the contest, a travelling photo display criss-crosses no fewer than 45 countries to showcase the top snapshots. For the second year now, this display is unveiled to you free of charge in the lobby at the Canadian War Museum.

War and peace

So how does this display end up in a war museum? A fair question since the featured photographs don’t necessarily relate to global armed conflict. Lisa Leblanc, Manager of Programs and Interpretation – whose team is behind World Press Photo coming to us – sees it as another way for the Canadian War Museum to fulfill its mission to help Canadians better understand history in its personal, national, and international dimensions. It also demonstrates the special relationship between Canada and the Netherlands since the Second World War, says Leblanc. In fact, it was the Royal Netherlands Embassy who last year proposed to the Canadian War Museum that Ottawa join the list of cities toured by the World Press Photo display.

And the winners are…

Vietnam in 1972; Tiananmen in 1989; both unforgettable winners of the “World Press Photo of the Year”. But there is more than war going on out there; international security is at the heart of a number of photo-reportages. The 2008 World Press Photo of the Year was awarded to Anthony Suau (Time, U.S.A.) for his photo of a police officer armed with a handgun inspecting a house whose owners had been evicted in the wake of the mortgage crisis.

Also recognized by and featured in this display are two Canadian photojournalists. The 3rd place award for ‘General News’ went to Kevin Frayer of the Associated Press for a striking photo of Palestinian protesters huddling under an olive tree surrounded by tear gas, while Julian Abram Wainwright won 3rd place in ‘Action Sports’ for the impressive photos he shot for the European Press Photo Agency of divers during the Beijing Olympics.

Ripped from the headlines of 2008, the World Press Photo display is a must-see for art and current affairs buffs. Join the two million other lucky people from 80 cities in 45 countries who get to see the world.

World Press Photo World Press Photo
Kevin Frayer:
Palestinian protestors take cover behind an olive tree as they get caught in tear gas fired by Israeli troops. Residents of the village began staging weekly demonstrations in May against Israel’s extension of a barrier which would cut off part of their farmland.
Julian Abram Wainwright:
Reuben Ross (Canada). Participant in the men’s 10m diving competition, at the Beijing Olympic Games. The event was won by Matthew Mitcham (Australia), giving Australia its first men’s diving gold medal since 1924 and preventing China from sweeping all eight diving golds.

World Press Photo receives support from the Dutch Postcode Lottery and is sponsored worldwide by Canon and TNT.