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Matinee: 'World Press Photo of the Year' Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

17 February 2018

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 137th in our series of Saturday matinees today: World Press Photo of the Year.

We published a link to the images of these six nominees for World Press Photo of the Year recently but this video adds the critiques of the contest jurors. And those jurors are Magdalena Herrera (chair), Thomas Borberg, Marcelo Brodsky, Jérôme Huffer, Whitney C. Johnson, Bulent Kiliç and Eman Mohammed.

There's the usual hyperbole about what any award winning image must "have" in general. Ignore that. Listen for what the jurors say about the images they present. That starts a minute into the video. (There, saved you 60 seconds.)

The jurors' comments help us reconsider each image in a new light.

The difference in the discussion is phenomenal.

The jurors move from platitudes and abstractions to an appreciation of what really mattered to them in each image.

In some cases it's a detail, like a hand or a victim's eyes looking at the viewer. In others it's the bloodless presentation of devastation in a darkened room that articulates a tragedy. Or the face of a child trapped in a line of adults as if her fate was being carried away by older victims.

Even the disturbing images (and there are a few) are not voyeuristic so much as symbolic. The jurors' comments help us reconsider each image in a new light.

What none of them talk about is what consumes hardware reviews. The technical merits. Sufficient resolution, dynamic range, sharpness in the corners, etc. Partly that's because the photographers are all competent professionals. But partly it's because that has never mattered as much as we like to pretend it does.

So if you played along earlier this week and peeked at the candidates to pick your own winner, take a look at the jurors' perspectives. See if it changes your mind.

The winner will be announced in Amsterdam on 12 April. But they'd better have six awards handy.

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