1964 Photo Contest in context

The Cyprus Civil War, which began in spring 1964, proved to be the most conspicuous international event in the ninth World Press Photo Contest. Don McCullin was duly awarded for his impressive photos, taken during his first war assignment, of the devastating intercommunal violence between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

The Tanganyika military mutiny of January 1964 figured indirectly in Ulrich Mack’s prize-winning photos of wild horses in Kenya, which he made following a scary experience during the mutiny.

The World Press Photo yearbook gave a broader view of 1964, with 125 pictures showing diverse subjects such as the funeral of US President John F. Kennedy, Nikita Khrushchev’s last foreign travels, a mining disaster in Germany, war victims in Vietnam, Amsterdam’s red light district, student protests in Edinburgh, race riots in the United States, a shooting incident in Brazil’s Senate, and the worldwide Beatlemania.

In their official evaluation, the 1964 jury reported that the winning photos were far superior to those of previous years, indicating a growing awareness of the contest’s worldwide importance. However, in a meeting organized by World Press Photo afterwards, the jury also expressed their worry about the lack of truly significant press photos. According to chairman Morris Gordon, World Press Photo ‘64 had been an excellent salon but not an exhibition of press photos. To tempt the world’s best photojournalists to participate, they should be invited directly. The organization was also strongly advised to expand its international network considerably.

A great chance to promote World Press Photo came in June 1964, when the organization was represented at the annual Wilson Hicks International Conference on Visual Journalism at the University of Miami, better known as ‘The Miami Conference’. One of the issues discussed was the lack of experienced photo editors and a common misunderstanding of photojournalism in many editorial rooms. During the same journey, World Press Photo was able to secure substantial commitment from The Associated Press and United Press International.

Entry statistics
  • 520 photographers
  • 51 countries
  • 2126 pictures
1964 Photo Contest jury
  • Dr. Ettore Basevi, Italy, president Sindicato Romano Giornalisti Fotografi
  • Dr. Erich Hoepfner, West Germany, Hamburger Abendblatt
  • Derrick Knight M.B.E., UK, general manager P.A. Reuter Photos
  • Vilém Kropp, Czechoslovakia, chairman International Organization of Journalists OIJ
  • R. Martinez, France, photo editor
  • Galina N. Plesko, USSR, Agency of Press News
  • Victoriano Tribaldos, Spain, Agrupación de Redactores Gráficos de Prensa
  • Anton Weehuizen, the Netherlands, chief editor De Geïllustreerde Pers
  • Prof. Dr. Otto Steinert, West Germany, director Folkwang Hochschule Essen (Jury for the Most Artistic Press Photo)
  • Prof. Dr. Hans van de Waal, the Netherlands, Leiden University (Jury for the Most Artistic Press Photo)
  • L.J.F. Wijsenbeek, the Netherlands, director Haags Gemeentemuseum (Jury for the Most Artistic Press Photo)
Chair of the jury
  • Morris Gordon, USA, educational director American Association of Magazine Photographers

    An impression of the jury at work in the 1964 yearbook (p. 6/7)

    Cover 1964 yearbook

    Prince Bernhard hands over the award to Don McCullin in the Ridderzaal, The Hague, 17 December 1964

    Prince Bernhard and Don McCullin at the Awards Ceremony in the Ridderzaal, The Hague, 17 December 1964 (© Ben Hansen/ANP)

    Prince Bernhard and Peter van Breukelen, Chairman of the World Press Photo Foundation, discuss Ulrich Mack’s winning, 17 December 1964 (© Ben Hansen/ANP)

    Prince Bernhard looks at Fritz Peyer’s winning photo story, The Hague, 17 December 1964 (© Ben Hansen/ANP)

    1964 Exhibition brochure