World Press Photo announces new “creative documentary” photo contest and other programs

“The World Press Photo Foundation is on the move. We have a fantastic heritage of more than 60 years that has reflected developments in image making. We are building on that to reward the new innovations and address the enormous challenges facing all of us in the 21st century. When I became director, I said we should be a ‘think tank’ for photography, bringing people together through new activities, debate, research and publications. World Press Photo is about leading through actions, and the exciting new contests, events and programs we will be running next year make that desire a reality.” Lars Boering, Executive Director of the World Press Photo Foundation

In a press release today, World Press Photo has announced a host of new programs and initiatives. Most interesting is a new “creative documentary” photo contest that allows for more interpretive and experimental forms of documentary photography, including those using alternative techniques for “constructing, processing, and presenting images.” My guess is that this is a way for the organization to address controversies involving projects with posed subjects and other issues in past years, most recently ending in the revocation of Giovanni Troilo’s prize for work in Charleroi, Belgium. Details are scant, but it’s a long time coming, and I’m excited to see what this contest brings forward.

Time Lightbox has a little more information, “The new contest will welcome entries from professional visual storytellers who use creative techniques — both technical (double exposures, stitched images) and narrative (posed images) — to communicate about actual people, events or issues.” The contest won’t be launched until October 2017.

Other bits in the press release include mention of a new global talent program called 6×6 aimed at increasing diversity in visual journalism, a World Press Photo Live series of global debates starting in May 2017, and “Witness” a Medium-based publication run by the organization. The annual multimedia contest has also been renamed as the Digital Storytelling Contest.

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