Judging process

2022 Contest judging process

The judging process of the 2022 World Press Photo Contest will take place in several rounds, currently planned over a six-week period, from 17 January to 2 March 2022. It will involve regional juries and a global jury, ​​and take place both online and offline (COVID-19 permitting). 

Regional juries

In each of the six regions of our new contest model (Africa, Asia, Europe, North and Central America, South America, and Southeast Asia and Oceania), a selection of entries per category will first be made by a regional jury. Each regional jury will be composed of five professionals from and/or working in that region, with a range of expertise. With the knowledge of the region that each jury member will possess, their deliberations will be informed by their political, social and cultural understanding of the region.

Global jury

The global jury will be composed of the six regional jury chairs and one additional member. Once the regional juries have made their selection of entries, the global jury will decide on 24 regional winners and from those, they will choose the four global winners: World Press Photo of the Year, World Press Photo Story of the Year, World Press Photo Long-Term Project Award, and the World Press Photo Open Format Award. See here for more information about the prize package.

In addition to the regional and global winners, the jury may choose to draw attention to an entry that deserves special recognition but that did not meet all of the judging criteria by awarding it an Honorable Mention. The jury may give a maximum of one Honorable Mention per region.

The global jury is assisted by a secretary. The secretary is responsible for all procedural matters and ensures the rules and procedures are fairly and properly applied. The secretary does not contribute to debate on the merits of any entry, and has no vote in the balloting.

The secretary is supported by a jury coordinator, who is a staff member of the World Press Photo Foundation. The coordinator is the principal conduit of information between the jury and the foundation on all procedural matters related to the judging. Throughout the judging process, the role of the World Press Photo Foundation staff is solely to manage the logistics of the judging process, including showing the entries, providing captions, and recording which entries are selected for the next round. No member of staff, including the jury coordinator, contributes to debate on the merits of any entry, and no member of staff has a vote in the balloting.

Judging rounds

The contest has six voting rounds: the first, second, third, fourth and fifth rounds and the finals.
The voting system and process for each round for each jury, are detailed in the Judging Procedures Handbook (which will be made available to download in December 2021), which guides the judging process and is provided to each juror.

Judging process

The purpose of the judging process is to select and reward accurate and visually compelling photojournalism and documentary photography of the past year. During their deliberations the jury will consider the following criteria:
  • Visual quality: this can include creativity, technical skill and visual style, and the edit of the story (where relevant)
  • Story: this refers to the story and/or issues covered in the photographs, its relevance or significance, and the way in which the photographer has chosen to approach the story
  • Representation: this refers to the importance of awarding a diverse range of stories and photographers

Representation in the 2022 Contest

The core motivation behind the new regional contest model is to give a platform to more diverse accounts of our world. In order to adequately represent and contextualize stories, World Press Photo will present the jury with relevant information about the photographer in order to facilitate a more comprehensive approach to understanding and judging entries. In doing so, the judging process emphasizes the importance of context and that means acknowledging accountability, transparency and positionality in image-making. The jury is made up of industry professionals who respect the work of each entrant, and have extensive discussions in order to award the best and most insightful work.

During the judging process, information will be made available to the jury at certain stages. To ensure that judging is as fair and efficient as possible, the following information will be given in the respective rounds:

Round 1: No photographer information given.
This is to ensure that the entries progressing to Round 2 are selected for their visual quality.

Round 2 onwards: Information about photographer nationality, where they are based, and gender will be given.
From Round 2 onwards, jury members will be able to view and discuss remaining entries considering the nationality, location and gender of entrants.

Round 4 onwards: Relevant additional information given.
From Round 4 onwards, jury members will be able to discuss additional information relating to how and why the story was made, such as motivation, the type of project (assignment/personal project) and funding. This information will be requested from the entrants left in the contest prior to Round 4.

The jury members will not be given the photographer's name, or other personal information not listed above, during the judging process. This is to preserve the anonymity of the entrants as much as possible until winners are selected. However, in the case of Open Format entries, this information might be included in the product (for example in the embedded credits at the end of videos and webdocs), which is unavoidable.

In order to ensure that the jury awards a diverse group of winners, World Press Photo has established the following representation criteria:

  • At least one local* winner per region;
  • At least one winner identifying as female or non-binary per region.
*Local is considered as a photographer who is from the country (and/or community) in which the story is being covered. This can either mean that they have a nationality, or have been living and working in the country for at least ten years.

This is the first year that we will provide additional photographer information to the jury, so this is a learning process, which will be thoroughly evaluated at the end of the 2022 Contest. 

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