2011 Contest in context

In 2010, nature showed its destructive power in different shapes: floods almost drowned Pakistan; Mount Merapi on Java blasted a deadly stream of hot rock, volcanic ash and pyroclastic flows; while massive earthquakes hit China and Haiti, which went under in rubble, fire and looting. Photographers were there to witness, record, and show the natural disasters, just as they were in Bangkok during demonstrations, in Budapest when a man jumped to his death, in Dalian after two oil pipelines exploded, in Duisburg when people were trampled to death, and in Karachi during target shootings.

Jodi Bieber’s evocative portrait of Bibi Aisha, both horrific and beautiful, became World Press Photo of the Year 2010. The jury felt that it made a strong photographic as well as political statement. “It did what all photographers strive for,” chairman David Burnett wrote in the 2011 yearbook: “to challenge the viewer not only to contemplate this moment for what it is, but also to desire more. More information. More understanding.” The portrait not only spoke of Aisha’s own case, but also of many women around the world, whose lives remained in jeopardy. The image was therefore considered as much a portrait of a victim as a photo about the relationship between the photographer and her subject.

Citizen journalists were honored as well, with a special mention named to a 12-picture series of photographs made by the Chilean miners trapped 700 meters underground for 69 days inside the San José mine before they were rescued on 13 October 2010. As jury member Abir Abdullah said: “… this is a good example of a photo from a place where a photojournalist could not possibly have been.” Technological developments, such as the camera phone and its applications, enabled moments in history to be recorded that would otherwise have remained unseen. In a sense, a new kind of press photo was also created by the technological development that 2011 winner Michael Wolf had captured in his series ‘of unfortunate events’, incidents accidentally recorded by Google Street View cars and appropriated by Wolf.

In 2011, World Press Photo launched the multimedia contest in recognition of the increasing practice of combining photography, video, audio and infographics in online productions, both by photographers and by the media, expanding beyond traditional still photography. The first multimedia contest was divided in two categories: online or offline linear productions and online interactive productions. These productions were to have a journalistic storyline in which still photography had to play a significant role. Other elements, such as video, animation, graphics, illustrations, sound, and text were allowed as well. In later contests, the rule concerning the inclusion of stills was removed as it was considered too rigid.

At the 2011 Awards Ceremony, Italian photographer Davide Monteleone, who won second prize in the arts and entertainment category, was presented with the Follow Your Convictions Grant for his project Reversed Seae. Winners of the 2011 World Press Photo Contest were invited to submit a proposal for this grant, sponsored by Swiss watchmaker Maurice Lacroix, enabling one of them to realize a personal project and thus to follow his or her conviction. Monteleone’s project focused on the shifting relationships between the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.

Entry statistics
  • 5691 photographers
  • 125 countries
  • 108059 pictures
2011 Photo Contest jury
  • Abir Abdullah, Bangladesh, photographer EPA and vice principal Pathshala South Asian Media Academy (General jury)
  • Marizilda Cruppe, Brazil, photographer O Globo / Eve Photographers (General jury)
  • Renata Ferri, Italy, photo editor Io Donna – Corriere della Sera (General jury)
  • Wim Melis, the Netherlands, curator Noorderlicht (General jury)
  • Aidan Sullivan, UK, vice president photo assignments Getty Images (General jury)
  • Heinz Kluetmeier, USA, photographer Sports Illustrated (General jury, Sports jury, chair)
  • Koji Aoki, Japan, Chief Photographer Aflo Sport / Aflo Dite and president Aflo Co., Ltd. (Sports jury)
  • Giovanna Calvenzi, Italy, picture editor Sportweek / La Gazzetta dello Sport (Sports jury)
  • Ruth Eichhorn, Germany, director of photography Geo (General jury, Nature jury, chair)
  • Mattias Klum, Sweden, photographer and filmmaker (Nature jury)
  • Sophie Stafford, UK, editor BBC Wildlife Magazine (Nature jury)
  • Vince Aletti, USA, freelance critic (General jury, Portraits jury, chair)
  • Harry Borden, UK, photographer (Portraits jury)
  • Terence Pepper, UK, curator of photographs National Portrait Gallery (Portraits jury)
  • Peter Bialobrzeski, Germany, artist (News & Documentary jury)
  • Héric Libong, Cameroon, head of photo department Panapress (News & Documentary jury)
  • Enric Martí, Spain, regional editor AP for Latin America and Caribbean (News & Documentary jury)
  • Sujong Song, South Korea, independent curator and photo editor (News & Documentary jury)
Chair of the jury
  • David Burnett, USA, photojournalist and founding member Contact Press Images
Secretary of the jury
  • Daphné Anglès, France/USA, European picture coordinator The New York Times
  • Stephen Mayes, UK, managing director VII Photo Agency

The 2011 photo contest jury (© Michael Kooren/HH for World Press Photo)

The jury at work, Amsterdam, February 2011 (© Michael Kooren/HH for World Press Photo)

The portraits jury at work, Amsterdam, February 2011 (© Michael Kooren/HH for World Press Photo)

The 2011 multimedia contest jury (© Michael Kooren/HH for World Press Photo)

The multimedia jury at work, Amsterdam, March 2011 (© Michael Kooren/HH for World Press Photo)

The 2011 photo contest jury at the press conference, Amsterdam City Hall, 11 February 2011

Display of the winning multimedia productions in the Oude Kerk, Amsterdam, 6 May 2011 (© Michael Kooren/HH for World Press Photo)

Winners of the 2011 World Press Photo contest on stage during the Awards Ceremony, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Amsterdam, 7 May 2011 (© Michael Kooren/HH for World Press Photo)

Winners Seamus Murphy (left) and Daniel Morel (middle) are being interviewed on stage by BBC presenter Allan Little during the 2011 Awards Ceremony, Amsterdam, 7 May 2011 (© Michael Kooren/HH for World Press Photo)

Jodi Bieber receives the Golden Eye Award from World Press Photo’s patron Prince Constantijn, Amsterdam, 7 May 2011 (© Michael Kooren/HH World Press Photo)

The 2011 Golden Eye Award, designed by Gijs Bakker (© Hilko Visser)

Jodi Bieber at the Awards Ceremony in the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Amsterdam, 7 May 2011 (© Michael Kooren/HH for World Press Photo)

David Allan Harvey during the Sem Presser Lecture in Felix Meritis, Amsterdam, 7 May 2011 (© Michael Kooren/World Press Photo)

Davide Monteleone is presented with the Follow Your Convictions grant by Martin Bachmann, CEO of watch manufacturer Maurice Lacroix, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Amsterdam, 7 May 2011 (© Michael Kooren/World Press Photo)

Cover 2011 yearbook