2010 Contest in context

In the United States, 2009 started with US President George W. Bush passing the torch to Barack Obama. The former president’s last and the new president’s first moments in the White House were captured in one of the winning stories. Meanwhile, the Gaza War, Israel’s offensive against Hamas militants in the Gaza strip, dominated the news headlines and subsequently the news categories of the 2010 World Press Photo Contest.

This was also the year in which, for the first time since 1979, Iranian people took to the streets in large numbers to protest their government following the disputed result of the Iranian presidential election. At night, when the streets emptied and went quiet, they climbed their rooftops to shout expressions of their discontent. Pietro Masturzo’s intriguing visual translation of these moments was awarded the World Press Photo of the Year 2009.

The jury had decided to award an image that was not immediately identifiable, inviting the viewer to discover an important news story differently. “While some of us were drawn to the winning Pietro Masturzo image from the start, sensing that it enticed us to discover something more, others remained untouched by its lack of immediate context,” Ayperi Karabuda Ecer, chair of the 2010 World Press Photo Contest jury wrote in the yearbook. She continued: “Some stated that a photograph should be able to express ‘everything’ within one frame, while others thought that this ‘everything’ was an illusion. They said they did not want to be told what to think, they simply wanted the photograph to open doors creatively, to nurture reflection and spark emotion.”

The jury also decided to give a special mention to a frame grab from a video posted on YouTube in June 2009 during the Iranian protests. It depicts a woman identified as Neda Agha-Soltan lying on the ground after being shot in the chest. The camera phone footage was viewed by millions online and discussed on social media and in major news media worldwide. Her name and image became a symbol of resistance to the Iranian regime. The World Press Photo Contest jury considers an image for special mention when it has made an exceptional impact on news reporting worldwide and could not have been made by a professional photographer. The first to be honored in this way were the Apollo 11 astronauts in the 1969/70 contest.

In 2010, World Press Photo created specialized juries for the categories nature, sports, and portraits, hoping to raise the overall standard and to split up the jury’s workload. In their evaluations, former juries had often remarked that the overall quality of the entries in these categories seemed weaker than of those in the news and documentary categories. Special skills in those categories were clearly needed in the jury in order to improve both the submissions and results, as Ayperi Ecer stated in World Press Photo’s Review.

While Photoshop celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2010, World Press Photo had to disqualify a winning entry for the very first time due to questionable use, within a journalistic context, of the photo-editing software. Ukrainian photographer Stepan Rudik had been awarded a third prize in the sports features category for his story on street fights in Kiev. Following the announcement of the contest results, it became clear that one of Rudik’s pictures had been altered. A tiny element, a foot, had been removed in Photoshop, violating the contest rule which stipulates that the content of the image must not be altered, and that only retouching which conforms to the accepted standards in the industry is allowed.

Entry statistics
  • 5847 photographers
  • 128 countries
  • 101960 pictures
2010 Photo Contest jury
  • Saurabh Das, India, photographer The Associated Press (General jury)
  • Kate Edwards, UK, picture editor Guardian Weekend (General jury)
  • Hideko Kataoka, Japan, director of photography Newsweek, Japan (General jury)
  • Guy Tillim, South Africa, photographer (General jury)
  • Stephan Vanfleteren, Belgium, photographer (General jury)
  • Bill Frakes, USA, photographer Sports Illustrated (General jury, Sports jury, chair)
  • Giovanna Calvenzi, Italy, Picture Editor Sportweek / La Gazetta dello Sport (Sports jury)
  • Adam Pretty, Australia, photographer Getty Images (Sports jury)
  • David Griffin, USA, director of photography National Geographic (General jury, Nature jury, chair)
  • Magdalena Herrera, France/Cuba, Director of Photography Geo, France (Nature jury)
  • Mattias Klum, Sweden, photographer and filmmaker (Nature jury)
  • Harry Borden, UK, photographer (General jury, Portraits jury, chair)
  • Laurie Kratochvil, USA, photography consultant (Portraits jury)
  • Charlotte Cotton, UK, creative director National Media Museum, London (Portraits jury)
  • Volker Lensch, Germany, head of photo department Stern (News & Documentary jury)
  • Laura Serani, Italy, freelance curator (News & Documentary jury)
  • Marizilda Cruppe, Brazil, photographer O Globo / Eve Photographers (News & Documentary jury)
  • Yuri Kozyrev, Russia, photographer Noor (News & Documentary jury)
Chair of the jury
  • Ayperi Karabuda Ecer, Sweden/Turkey, vice president Pictures Reuters
Secretary of the jury
  • Daphné Anglès, France/USA, European picture coordinator The New York Times
  • Stephen Mayes, UK, managing director VII Photo Agency

The 2010 World Press Photo Jury (© Co de Kruijf/Hollandse Hoogte)

The Sports Jury at work, Amsterdam, February 2010 (© Co de Kruijf/Hollandse Hoogte)

The News & Documentary jury: Marizilda Cruppe, Ayperi Ecer and Volker Lensch, Amsterdam, February 2010 (© Co de Kruijf/Hollandse Hoogte)

Jury member Yuri Kozyrev, Amsterdam, February 2010 (© Co de Kruijf/Hollandse Hoogte)

Jury member Volker Lensch, Amsterdam, February 2010 (© Co de Kruijf/Hollandse Hoogte)

Year winner Pietro Masturzo at the press preview in the Oude Kerk, Amsterdam, April 2010 (© Co de Kruijf/Hollandse Hoogte)

The 2010 World Press Photo winners on stage in the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Amsterdam, April 2010 (© Co de Kruijf/Hollandse Hoogte)

Ou Zhihang and other winners on stage at the Awards Ceremony, Amsterdam, April 2010 (© Co de Kruijf/Hollandse Hoogte)

Pietro Masturzo and Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands at the Awards Ceremony in the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Amsterdam, April 2010 (© Co de Kruijf/Hollandse Hoogte)

Pietro Masturzo's Golden Eye Award, designed by Gijs Bakker (© Co de Kruijf)

Winner Malick Sidibé and his wife at the press preview in the Oude Kerk, Amsterdam, April 2010 (© Co de Kruijf/Hollandse Hoogte)

Eugene Richards presents the 8th Sem Presser Lecture at the 2010 Awards Days in Felix Meritis, Amsterdam, April 2010 (© Co de Kruijf/Hollandse Hoogte)

2010 exhibition poster Amsterdam