1962 Photo Contest in context

The impact of the Berlin Wall, erected in August 1961, became increasingly visible and was an important theme at the sixth edition of the World Press Photo Contest.

Other subjects included the revolts and rebellions in Africa and South America, the FIFA World Cup in Chile, the summit meeting between US President John F. Kennedy and Nikita Krushchev in Vienna, accidents, rescue operations, car crashes, triumphs in sports and celebrities. Visitors of the exhibition in The Hague saw a more balanced selection of world news, local news, features and sports than before.

Hector Rondón Lovera became the 6th winner of the World Press Photo of the Year for his moving picture of a naval base chaplain offering last rites to a dying soldier during the military rebellion in Venezuela. Rondón, who worked for La Republica, had left Caracas immediately after hearing about the rebellion in Puerto Cabello and arrived in the middle of fierce fighting. He slipped in amongst soldiers advancing behind government tanks and managed to capture a series of photos including the striking image of Father Padillo holding the dying soldier while looking in the direction of sniper fire. The image was published on the front page of La Republica on 4 June 1962 immediately following the rebellion.

In 1962, World Press Photo published its very first yearbook. It contained a selection of 160 photos from the exhibition, not just the winning images, but an attractive and representative overview of that year’s events. “This book is, as you may expect, the beginning of a tradition”, the introduction read, “The extraordinary value of an annually updated collection from one year’s production, justifies a ‘report’ in the form of a book. Obviously, this is a subjective report: a personal view of World Press Photo ’62.”

In his foreword to the exhibition brochure, Simon Clyne, chairman of the jury, listed the advantages of World Press Photo. The contest gave a splendid opportunity to “match our gifts and professional craftsmanship against fellow journeymen everywhere.” It kept everyone abreast of technological advancements, and it enabled photojournalists and photo editors to share talents “in the great battle against television which we have made our servant and not our master.” Clyne concluded by remarking that “where politicians have failed we can succeed by the mutual appreciation of our skills to create a better understanding in the world of to-day. Why? Because a good craftsman will always shake the hand of the man who knows his trade well whatever his country.”

Entry statistics
  • 442 photographers
  • 45 countries
  • 1058 pictures
1962 Photo Contest jury
  • Shigeru Aoki, Japan
  • Dr. Ettore Basevi, Italy, president Sindicato Romano Giornalisti Fotografi
  • Maria Borowska, Poland, editor in chief CAF
  • Marina Bugaeva, Soviet Union, editor in chief Soviet Photo Magazine
  • Morris Gordon, USA, chairman American Society of Magazine Photographers
  • Theo Ramaker, the Netherlands, Het Parool
  • Dr. Herbert Zachäus, West Germany, picture editor Quick
  • Jan H.M. Cottaar, the Netherlands, sports journalist (Jury for the Best Sports Photo)
  • Paul Dupont, France, L’Équipe (Jury for the Best Sports Photo)
  • Henri Schihin, Switzerland, president International Sports Press Association AIPS (Jury for the Best Sports Photo)
  • Sven Ekström, Sweden (Jury for the Best Sports Photo)
  • L.J.F. Wijsenbeek, the Netherlands, director Haags Gemeentemuseum (Jury for the Most Artistic Photo)
  • Prof. dr. Otto Steinert, West Germany, director Folkwang Hochschule Essen (Jury for the Most Artistic Photo)
  • Toni Schneiders, West Germany (Jury for the Most Artistic Photo)
Chair of the jury
  • Simon Clyne, UK, picture editor Daily Mirror

    The 1962 jury at work in the Haags Gemeentemuseum (© Ben van Meerendonk/IISG)

    Hector Rondon Lovera and his winning images at the World Press Photo exhibition at the Haags Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, 27 November 1962 (© Dick Coersen/ANP)

    Cover of the 1962 World Press Photo exhibition brochure

    Cover of the 1962 World Press Photo yearbook