Sun 22 Dec 2013
Bringing to Israel the international Word Press journalistic photography winners and joining in the same exhibition the Israeli Local Testimony collection has become a tradition, and so is my visiting the show at the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv. I could not miss the 2013 edition.
Selected from over 100,00 entries submitted most of them during 2012, the World Press 2013 edition choices seemed to me less impressive than in the previous years. While in each of the other editions there were a few photographs that I remember well until today, the current one did not offer too many works that I will remember visually next year. The overall mood was also quite somber. Many of photos in the events-related categories were connected to the situation in the Middle East, and with the fading of the hopes of the ‘Arab spring’ and the civil conflicts and extreme Islam offensive that took over the area, they let room to some horrific images. But even out of the area, photojournalism of the year 2013 contained little reasons of optimism.
The ‘Local Testimony’ section occupied this year almost equal area in the interior of the exhibition space. As in the previous years the quality and intensity of the works were in some cases equal to these in the international section. The Israeli section also celebrated ten years since its first occurrence, and this is a good opportunity to see in the show a few of the best photos exposed during the decade.
The big prize of World Press 13 was awarded to a dramatic shot taken in Gaza by the Swede Paul Hansen showing the funeral of two children killed in the military actions of Israel aimed to stop the bombing in the south of Israel. Politics put aside it’s a great photo showing the horrors of war and the price inflected on innocent victims in a year which has seen too many innocent civilian victims all over the Earth.
The work that impressed me most esthetically belongs actually to the sport photos section. It is taken by Wei Seng Chen and shows the finish of a bull race in Sumatra.
With the Middle East in the center of the news and of the photojournalists some of the entries in the Israeli section seem to be a direct continuation of the works in the international section. Such is the photo taken by Ammar Younis during the protest of the Bedouins against the intentions of the government to relocate them, a move they perceive like endangering their way of life.
Yohann Dobensky took a picture in the more intimate environment of an ultra-orthodox family in pilgrimage at the tombs of the great rabbis in Ukraine. The innocent game of a kid playing with a plastic gun tells a lot about the obsession of the Israeli society, even of its less militaristic circles with weapons.
Even if the awards selection falls behind the one on the previous years, World Press 13 and Local Testimony is a show to visit. More information on the Web site of the museum http://www.eretzmuseum.org.il/e/297/ and on the site of the World Press organization (including images and descriptions of the awarded works) – http://www.worldpressphoto.org/.