What is the World Press Photo exhibition?
Founded in the Netherlands in 1955, WPP organizes the leading annual international press photography competition. Photographs are submitted by newspapers, magazines, photojournalists and agencies (AP, Getty, Washington Post, National Geographic, etc.) and are reviewed by a panel of independent judges. The winning photographs are then transformed into a photo exhibition that travels the world.
Last year these exhibitions were visited by 4 million people in 100 cities across the globe. But not here in Washington, D.C....
That despite the fact that D.C. is home to a significant number of winning photographers, newspapers, companies, luminaries, international and (non) governmental organizations intimately involved in journalism, photography as well as the topics depicted in the photographs.
What is the goal of organizing the exhibition?
Winning pictures often contain a duality, leaving a first impression that suggests one thing, while having a back story that reveals the complexity of the world around us. That effect breaks through preconceived notions and opens people’s minds, leaving the viewer wanting to learn more.
We seek to bring together people of all walks of life, to use the photographs to spark interest in the topics they cover and to invite leading organizations to tell the stories behind the photographs. In so doing, visitors are encouraged to learn about, and engage with, the institutions working on the issues current events in the pictures.
How broad are the topics included in the exhibition?
The photographs fit into eight categories; i) contemporary issues, ii) daily life, iii) general news, iv) long-term projects, v) nature, vi) people, vii) sports; and viii) spot news. The pictures are highly topical and politically relevant, without “taking sides”.
By representing such a broad cross-section of areas, the exhibition has the appeal to attract many visitors interested in one specific topic, whose eyes are incidentally drawn to a stunning picture about a topic they may know much less about.
How do you tell the stories behind the photographs?
We are working to bring together 50-100 organizations that can tell the stories behind each of the photographs (i.e. UN specialized agencies, development banks, think-tanks, media, leading universities, sports organizations, government agencies, social organizations, NGO’s, etc.). An education program is being developed offering master classes and exhibition tours with leading photographers for college and high school students, as well as a cellphone photography competition for younger photographers to-be.
Where will the exhibition be held?
The main exhibition will be located at the Dupont Underground, an abandoned trolley station underneath Washington's iconic Dupont Circle.
Partner events will be held throughout the city, but with a strong concentration around Dupont Circle.