2001 Photo Contest in context

The year 2000 was not dominated by one overriding, history-shaping, international news event. The war in Chechnya, launched by Russia in August 1999 against Chechen separatist forces, continued and led to a grueling winter siege of the capital Grozny.

The civil war in Sierra Leone also continued, despite the Lomé Peace Accord that had been signed in 1999. Nature once more showed its fickle face by harassing Mozambique with torrential rains leading to the worst flooding in 50 years. In September, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict entered a new stage when Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount, sparking the Al-Aqsa Intifada. And, in October, a revolution in Serbia following the disputed presidential election toppled President Slobodan Milosevic.

The World Press Photo of the Year 2000 could be related to the 2000 United States Census, which began on 1 April. The jury chose this photo because of its universal, highly contemporary dimension. Lara Jo Regan’s winning image showed a Mexican immigrant family, four of the millions of ‘uncounted’ and thus non-existing Americans, in their Texas home. The jury had chosen to award an issue, the issue of migration and displaced people, rather than an event. Migration, the continuing shift of people across the globe away from poverty and conflict towards the prospect of a better life, was destined to be one of the major issues confronting the new century.

Notwithstanding the jury’s focus on the bigger picture, it is striking that only one image of the Summer Olympics in Sydney was awarded, and that the controversial US presidential election is entirely missing in the contest results. When asked about this, the jury commented that in both cases the submitted photos showed that it had been very difficult for photographers to find an original and independent angle on the events. The election had been essentially a series of highly scripted photo opportunities, despite the efforts by some photographers to get behind the scenes. In Sydney, the Olympics had primarily become a TV event. In fact, the photographers had been locked in fixed spots where they were forced to use the same long lenses. David Callow and Bill Frakes were awarded for the daring and effective way in which they had by-passed these restrictions in their dynamic overview of athlete Marion Jones winning the 100-meter.

In other categories, inventive photographers were awarded as well. Robert Pledge, chairman of the jury, explained in the 2001 yearbook: “The award-winners represent a diversity of styles, approaches and points of view which are often highly personal and removed from established formulae, in which color and black-and-white, film and digital, and a variety of formats blend irrespectively to cover the entire range, from the most traditional to the most contemporary.”

Entry statistics
  • 3938 photographers
  • 121 countries
  • 42280 pictures
  • 13113 black and white
  • 29167 color
2001 Photo Contest jury
  • Alexander Joe, Zimbabwe, photographer Agence France Presse (first-round jury)
  • Christiane Gehner, Germany, picture editor Der Spiegel (first-round jury)
  • Michele McNally, USA, picture editor Fortune (first-round jury)
  • Guy Cooper, USA, director of photography Newsweek (second-round jury)
  • Margot Klingsporn, Germany, director Focus Photo und Presse Agentur (second-round jury)
  • Yuri Kozyrev, Russia, photographer (second-round jury)
  • Miguel Angel Larrea, Chile, director of photography Las Ultimas Noticias (second-round jury)
  • Juda Ngwenya, South Africa, photographer Reuters (second-round jury)
  • Brechtje Rood, the Netherlands, picture editor Trouw (second-round jury)
  • Henrik Saxgren, Denmark, photographer (second-round jury)
  • Michael Young, Australia, picture editor Sydney Morning Herald (second-round jury)
Chair of the jury
  • Robert Pledge, France, president Contact Press Images (New York/Paris)
Secretary of the jury
  • Adriaan Monshouwer

The second-round jury at the KLM Headquarters, Amstelveen, February 2001 (Frank van Beek/Capital Photos)

The first-round jury in the Obrechtkerk, Amsterdam, February 2001(© Frank van Beek/Capital Photos)

Chairman Robert Pledge , KLM Headquarters, Amstelveen, February 2001 (© Yuri Kozyrev)

The jury at work, KLM Headquarters, Amstelveen, February 2001 (© Yuri Kozyrev)

The 2001 Children’s Jury on the roof of NEMO, Amsterdam, February 2001 (© Peter Denkema)

The 2001 Children’s Jury at work, February 2001 (© Thomas Borberg/Politiken)

Winners of the 2001 World Press Photo contest in front of the Oude Kerk, Amsterdam, April 2001 (© Capital Photos)

Winners Narelle Autio and Trent Parke at the exhibition in the Oude Kerk, Amsterdam, 23 April 2001 (© World Press Photo)

Lara-Jo Regan's Golden Eye Award, designed by Gijs Bakker (© Co de Kruijf)

Cover 2001 yearbook