2014 Photo Contest in context

According to the chair Gary Knight, the 2014 jury stated that they sought to award the photography of issues and events, rather than the events and issues themselves. This statement does not imply, however, that important world events went missing from the selection.

Some powerful images from the Philippines typhoon are included, as well as pictures from the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, violence in the Central African Republic, the massacre at Nairobi’s Westgate Mall and the ongoing conflict in Syria.

“Aesthetics and journalism were both important determining factors in rewarding work,” Gary Knight, chairman of the jury explained,” and so was the ability of the photograph to engage the viewer for more than an instant.” Photographs that started a dialogue with the viewer, that allowed the viewer to think about what was photographed, that challenged stereotypes, and that might advance the genre, were in favor.

Some of these winning photos were firmly rooted in the traditions of photojournalism. Others challenged the genre’s conventions, such as Fred Ramos’ story “The Last Outfit of the Missing,” and some pushed the limits of what is possible to capture with the contemporary light-sensitive camera sensors, like Gianluca Panella’s story about the Gaza blackouts. The selection also included for the first time photos made by a drone, operated by Kunrong Chen.

By awarding John Stanmeyer’s image of African migrants on the Djibouti shore, the jury raised attention for one the world’s major issues: the endless stream of migrants traversing the world in search of a better life. As jury member Jillian Edelstein said: “It’s a photo that is connected to so many other stories—it opens up discussions about technology, globalization, migration, poverty, desperation, alienation, humanity. It’s a very sophisticated, powerfully nuanced image. It is so subtly done, so poetic, yet instilled with meaning, conveying issues of great gravity and concern in the world today.”

The jury also decided to give a Special Mention to a series of pictures of wildfires in Dunalley, Tasmania, Australia, that destroyed 90 homes. The photos were made by Tim Holmes and showed his wife Tammy and their five grandchildren taking refuge under a jetty,while the wildfire raged nearby. “None of the entries to the competition addressed the issue of the wildfires with such a sense of proximity,” the jury explained, “We are used to people these days documenting their own lives, and we are used to journalists documenting calamities that affect others, but here these two intersect.” 

During the 2014 Awards Days, World Press Photo organized several discussions about topical issues in the photographic industry. These included debates about current practices and accepted standards in manipulation, multimedia strategies in digital storytelling, and security and safety issues in (photo)journalism. The last one became painfully acute as only several weeks before, Anja Niedringhaus, photojournalist and member of the 2013 Photo Contest jury, had been killed in Afghanistan while covering the presidential election. William Daniels, awarded for his story about the outbreak of violence in the Central African Republic, talked about how he prepared for a potentially dangerous assignment. While Peter van Agtmael, who had worked extensively in Iraq and Afghanistan, shared his views on coping with violent experiences and strongly advocated training before traveling. He advised aspiring war photographers only to take risks for subjects they really cared about and also to invest in their emotional well-being. Furthermore, the panel, which also included Sebastián Aguirre (Article 19), Francis Kohn (AFP) and Aidan Sullivan (Getty Images), asked for more attention for local journalists—those working under the most dangerous circumstances since they are not able to leave the situation when the job is done.

Entry statistics
  • 5754 photographers
  • 132 countries
  • 98671 pictures
2014 Photo Contest jury
  • David Guttenfelder, USA, chief Asia photographer The Associated Press (General jury)
  • Hideko Kataoka, Japan, director of photography Newsweek Japan (General jury)
  • Koyo Kouoh, Cameroon, founder and artistic director Raw Material Company (General jury)
  • Susie Linfield, USA, associate professor and director of the cultural reporting and criticism program, New York University (General jury)
  • Francesco Zizola, Italy, photojournalist Noor Images (General jury)
  • Kerim Okten, Turkey, photographer (General jury, Sports jury, chair)
  • Tom Jenkins, UK, sports photographer (Sports jury)
  • Miriam Marseu, USA, photo editor Sports Illustrated (Sports jury)
  • Daniel Beltrá, Spain/USA, photographer (General jury, Nature jury, chair)
  • Rosamund Kidman Cox, UK, editor (Nature jury)
  • Luciano Candisani, Brazil, nature photojournalist (Nature jury)
  • Jillian Edelstein, UK/South Africa, photographer (General jury, Portraits jury, chair)
  • Alessia Glaviano, Italy, senior photo editor Vogue Italia and L’Uomo Vogue (Portraits jury)
  • Terence Pepper, UK, senior special advisor National Portrait Gallery (Portraits jury)
  • Adrees Latif, Pakistan/USA, photographer and editor in charge US pictures Reuters (News & Documentary jury)
  • Daniel Merle, Argentina, picture editor and curator (News & Documentary jury)
  • Marie Sumalla, France, photo editor Le Monde (News & Documentary jury)
  • Newsha Tavakolian, Iran, photographer (News & Documentary jury)
Chair of the jury
  • Gary Knight, UK, founder photographer VII Photo Agency
Secretary of the jury
  • David Campbell, Australia, independent writer, researcher, lecturer and producer
  • Simon Njami, Cameroon, independent curator, lecturer and art critic

The news & documentary jury at work: Newsha Tavakolian, Adrees Latif, Marie Sumalla, Gary Knight and secretary David Campbell, Amsterdam, 4 February 2014 (© Michael Kooren/HH for World Press Photo)

The nature jury at work: Luciano Candisani, Rosamund Kidman Cox and Daniel Beltrá, Amsterdam, 2 February 2014 (© Michael Kooren/HH for World Press Photo)

The 2014 jury at work, Amsterdam, February 2014 (© Michael Kooren/HH for World Press Photo)

Jury members Francesco Zizola and Kerim Okten, Amsterdam, 11 February 2014 (© Michael Kooren/HH for World Press Photo)

A break from judging, Amsterdam, 11 February 2014 (© Michael Kooren/HH for World Press Photo)

Jury chair Gary Knight announces the winner during the winners viewing at De Balie, Amsterdam, 14 February 2014 (© Michael Kooren/HH for World Press Photo)

John Stanmeyer in front of his winning picture at the exhibition in the Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam, 24 April 2014 (© Bas de Meijer/HH for World Press Photo)

John Stanmeyer during his presentation at the Awards Days in the Compagnietheater, Amsterdam, 24 April 2014 (© Michael Kooren/HH for World Press Photo)

Debate on safety issues during the Awards Days, Compagnietheater, Amsterdam, 24 April 2014 (© Bas de Meijer/HH for World Press Photo)

Edward Burtynsky during the 2014 Sem Presser Lecture in the Compagnietheater, Amsterdam, 24 April 2014 (© Michael Kooren/HH for World Press Photo)

Condolence register for jury member Kerim Okten, who died in April 2014. (© Michael Kooren/HH for World Press Photo)

John Stanmeyer's Golden Eye Award, designed by Gijs Bakker (© Hilko Visser)

Cover 2014 yearbook