World Press Photo Withdraws Award For Giovanni Troilo’s Charleroi Story

After receiving new information regarding Giovanni Troilo’s first-prize Contemporary Issues story, World Press Photo reopened its investigation yesterday. The conclusion is that the story was not in compliance with the entry rules and therefore the award must be revoked.

Troilo submitted his story, titled ‘La Ville Noir - The Dark Heart of Europe,’ to the 2015 Photo Contest as a story about the Belgian city of Charleroi. However, World Press Photo learned that the photo of a painter creating a work with live models had instead been shot in Molenbeek, Brussels. Troilo confirmed over telephone and email that the image had not been taken in Charleroi, contrary to what he submitted to the contest. This falsified information is a violation of the 2015 Photo Contest entry rules.

In accordance with the judging procedures, which state that a single image or story/portfolio that has been awarded a prize will be disqualified if proven to be not in compliance with the entry rules, World Press Photo has made the decision to disqualify the story.

World Press Photo managing director Lars Boering adds:
“In the past week, there has been a lot of discussion about this story, and the prize has been labeled controversial by many. Questions were raised about Troilo’s work that led to an investigation of the circumstances and the photographer’s work methods regarding a number of pictures. Until this point, we had upheld this award because there was no clear evidence to prove a rule had been broken. We took these questions seriously and we understood what was at stake. We wanted to be certain without a doubt.”

“The World Press Photo Contest must be based on trust in the photographers who enter their work and in their professional ethics. We have checks and controls in place, of course, but the contest simply does not work without trust. We now have a clear case of misleading information and this changes the way the story is perceived. A rule has now been broken and a line has been crossed.”

“Based on the mixture of reactions we’ve received over the past week, it is clear to me that the debate taking place about the definitions of press photography, photojournalism and documentary photography is necessary, and it will have implications for the professional ethics of practitioners. We find ourselves right in the middle of this debate, and we aim to use this as a learning experience, to give focus to the discussion and bring it to the next level. In order to do this, we are organizing a discussion about image integrity that will take place during the Awards Days in Amsterdam and we also plan to hold a debate about ethics in the profession during the same event at the end of April.”

Due to the disqualification, the second prize story will now be awarded a first prize and the third prize story will be awarded a second prize. As a result, there will be no third prize awarded in the Contemporary Issues category.


World Press Photo receives support from the Dutch Postcode Lottery and is sponsored worldwide by Canon.

Posted March 4 2015

About The World Press Photo Foundation

We are a global platform connecting professionals and audiences through trustworthy visual journalism and storytelling. Founded in 1955 when a group of Dutch photographers organized a contest to share their work with an international audience, the competition has grown into the world’s most prestigious photography award and our mission has expanded. We encourage diverse accounts of the world that present stories with different perspectives. We exhibit those stories to a worldwide audience, educate the profession and the public on their making, and encourage debate on their meaning.

The World Press Photo Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization, based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. We receive support from the Dutch Postcode Lottery and are sponsored worldwide by Canon.