The 2017 World Press Photo of The Year has just been announced. Again, just only 24 hours of it’s publicity, much has been written on social media and the press whether the An Assassination In Turkey image by Burhan Ozbilici was appropriate or not.
Putting it into perspective a little – personally, I have the telly on most of the time, in the background, and it’s invariably tuned onto a news channel like Sky News, BBC, or Al Jazeera. Living in the UK, it seems that almost daily, there is a Breaking News item being live reported or televised. The rolling 24 hour news that we live by is addictive and at best numbing – especially when there is a terrorist attack happening within 100 miles of where you live. It could well be 10 miles away or even right in Piccadilly Circus.
On 7 July 2005 suicide bombers attacked 3 transport locations in London simultaneously killing 52 people. Since then, there have been several deadly attacks in the City and as we all know recently in France, Belgium, Germany amongst other places. These attacks are close and becoming closer. In addition, there are victims who suffer permanent disabilities, least death. Then there are the daily reports of civilian deaths in bombings, migrant boats capsizing, refugee exodus.
Being informed about the news is once thing, but what can we do about the situation?
Year in, year out, we will continue to see murders and killings amongst man, and there will be photographs from these incidents that make the cut. That is the nature of Man and this is disheartening.
Now, if you did not see the breaking news of this assassination, or read the reports in the papers the next day, or did not even know about it, what will be your reaction? Is it iconic?
In the WPPOFTY, glorifying a cold blooded murder can be seen to be acknowledging the bravery of the photographer – as one of the judges put in – “to reward the photographer, not the crime”. I suggest the photographer be given a bravery medal. I respect the jury panel decision although that would not have been my choice. I think, as consumers of the news and observers of images, we, the masses can have a say about what we think.
If you were one of the jury, which image would you have picked for the WPPOTY?
My pick would be Brent Stirton’s Dead Rhino image. I cannot bear looking at it, and that is powerful. At least, I hope that Man can do something to stop these poachers.
[Featured Image ©Brent Stirton, courtesy Getty Images for National Geographic Magazine]