1975 Photo Contest in context

In 1974, democracy was resurrected in Portugal and Greece. In Portugal, the Carnation Revolution ended almost five decades of dictatorship, while in Greece severe student protests led to the downfall of the Regime of the Colonels after seven years in power.

In the United States, the Watergate scandal led to President Richard Nixon’s downfall who resigned from office in August 1974, the first US president to do so. In Kinshasa, Muhammad Ali regained the title of heavyweight boxing champion by defeating George Foreman during the legendary ‘Rumble in the Jungle’. More than 3,000 kilometers to the north, in the Sahel, a devastating famine raged. It was in Niger that American photographer Ovie Carter made his image of a starving child that was named the World Press Photo of the Year 1974.

The yearly exhibition offered ample space to remarkable, funny and uplifting photos, as it had always done. Even so, ever since the act of killing had entered the competition in 1960, World Press Photo had been repeatedly criticized of presenting the world as a place of violence and suffering. In response to these complaints two new contest categories were established: happy news & humor, and arts and sciences. Both were very popular with jury members and participants from the communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe, where bad news could not be shown, as it was not supposed to exist. Not surprisingly, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, which would lead to the fall of communism in those countries, also marked the end of the happy news & humor category, which was awarded for the last time in 1990.

World Press Photo 1975 also paid tribute to the United Nations International Women’s Year with a special contest and exhibition: “Woman in View”. Prizewinners showed the plight of women in Vietnam, India and Iraq.

Entry statistics
  • 684 photographers
  • 41 countries
  • 3300 pictures
  • 2925 black and white
  • 375 color
1975 Photo Contest jury
  • Dmitry Baltermants, USSR, photojournalist, Senior editor Ogonyok
  • Mario De Biasi, Italy, chief photographic staff Epoca
  • Daniel Casco, Mexico, chief picture department Excelsior
  • Prof. Dr. L. Fritz Gruber, West Germany, director Photokina
  • Eva Keleti, Hungary, photojournalist, lecturer International School of Journalism, Budapest
  • John G. Morris, USA, editor in chief New York Times Pictures
  • Michael Rand, UK, art director & managing editor Sunday Times Magazine
  • Piet van der Vliet, the Netherlands, picture editor De Volkskrant
Chair of the jury
  • Henk G. Kersting, the Netherlands, former executive director World Press Photo

    The jury at work (Fritz Gruber in the middle), Amsterdam, March 1975 (© NFP)

    The jury at work, Amsterdam, 2 March 1975 (© Hans Steinmeier/ANP)

    Portrait of the jury with Ovie Carter’s winning image, March 1975 (© Frits Gerritsen)

    Ovie Carter in conversation with Dutch Prime Minister Joop Den Uyl during the Awards Ceremony in the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, 16 April 1975 (© AP)

    1975 exhibition poster

    Cover 1975 yearbook (front), photo by Dennis Hussey (Daily Mirror)

    Cover 1975 yearbook (back)