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25.08.2020   |  Art And About Africa

Artists from the Continent at the World Press Photo 2020

According to 2018 data provided by the WPPF team, only 2% of entrants come from Africa. The Foundation priority for the coming years is to enhance global diversity by addressing the under-representation of female-identifying photographers and photographers in Africa and South America. The Art and About Africa team went to visit the Word Press Photo 2020 in Rome, Italy, where 139 finalist photos were exhibited to the public.


The World Press Photo ​Exhibition ​2020 ​showcases the best visual journalism of the last year with winning photography from the 2020 World Press Photo Contest.

The World Press Photo Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. ​It all began ​in 1955 ​when a group of Dutch photographers organized an international contest (“World Press Photo”) to expose their work to a global audience.

In the six decades of the World Press Photo Foundation, the world has changed continuously, and new developments in the media and technology have transformed journalism and storytelling. The World Press Photo Foundation’s purpose is to ‘connect the world to the stories that matter.’

The Foundation’s annual contests recognize and celebrate the best in visual journalism and digital storytelling. An independent jury selects the prize-winning photographs and productions.

The annual World Press Photo Exhibition presents the results of the foundation’s annual contests, showcasing stories that make people stop, feel, think and act.

The Art and About Africa team visited the ​World Press Photo ​Exhibition​ 2020 in Rome, Italy. The exhibition, initially scheduled for April 25, 2020, and postponed due to the health emergency, presents​ a curated selection of winning photos (139 from 316 awarded photos) ​the prestigious international photojournalism competition.

Among the award winners of the ​2020 Photo Contest,​ five are from the African continent:
Brent Stirton (South Africa),
Lee-Ann Olwage (South Africa),
Alon Skuy (South Africa),
Farouk Batiche (Algeria), and
Mulugeta Ayene (Ethiopia)

The contest rewards photographers for the best single exposure pictures contributing to the past year of visual journalism. ​The pictures are judged in terms of their accurate, fair, and visually compelling insights about our world.
Based on the main visual journalist, one out of the nine 2020 Digital Storytelling Contest winning productions is from South Africa: ​Scenes From a Dry City by Francois Verster/Simon Wood/Field of Vision.

Interesting is the presence of the continent in the ​winning images of the 2020​ Photo Contest as eleven awarded projects were shot in Africa:
projects of Frédéric Noy, Yasuyoshi Chiba, Romain Laurendeau, Lee-Ann Olwage, Brent Stirton, Alon Skuy, Olivier Papegnies, Farouk Batiche, Dai Kurokawa, Mulugeta Ayene and Oliver Weiken.
Worth to mention is that both the Photo of the Year and the Story of the Year tell the stories from Africa.

Part of the exhibition at Palazzo Delle Esposizioni was dedicated to iconic photos of photographers who have won previous editions, including African artists:
Jodi Bieber (South Africa) | World Press Photo of the Year 2010.

According to 2018 data provided by the WPPF team, only 2% of ​the 2018 Photo Contest​ entrants came​ from Africa. The Foundation’s priority for the coming years is ​to encourage a more diverse and inclusive representation of the world ​by addressing the underrepresentation of female-identifying photographers and photographers​ from African and South American countries.

To address these issues the foundation ​has taken a number of initiatives including educational programs and an all year round campaign to attract a new and more diverse range of photographers to enter the photo contest.
The Foundation also established and is expanding the African Photojournalism Database (in partnership​ with Everyday Africa) and the 6×6 Global Talent Program, where they support new talent and connect them to the international media economy.

ABOUT the African Photojournalism Database
The African Photojournalism Database,​ a joint project of the World Press Photo Foundation and Everyday Africa, is a directory of emerging and professional African visual journalists reporting on cultural, economic, environmental, political and social issues on the continent, as well as sports, nature, and stories of everyday life. It was created in 2016 to help photographers and visual journalists better connect to the international media economy and for the international media better understand the issues and projects that African visual journalists consider important.


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