Home » The World Press Photo Foundation announces new programs for 2017

The World Press Photo Foundation announces new programs for 2017


Amsterdam, 26 October 2016

The World Press Photo Foundation is pleased to announce its calendar of 2017 activities. Building on its established photo and multimedia contests, the foundation’s 2017 year plan sees the introduction of new initiatives designed to deliver the foundation’s expanded mission of inspiring, educating and supporting visual journalism around the world.

Lars Boering, Executive Director of the World Press Photo Foundation, said:

“The World Press Photo Foundation is on the move. We have a fantastic heritage of more than 60 years that has reflected developments in image making. We are building on that to reward the new innovations and address the enormous challenges facing all of us in the 21st century. When I became director, I said we should be a ‘think tank’ for photography, bringing people together through new activities, debate, research and publications. World Press Photo is about leading through actions, and the exciting new contests, events and programs we will be running next year make that desire a reality.”

These are the 2017 activities, in chronological order:

  1. The 2017 World Press Photo Contest will open for entries on 1 December 2016, be judged in mid-January 2017, with the winners announced at a press conference in Amsterdam on 13 February 2017. This will be the 60th edition of the photo contest which rewards the best single-exposure pictures contributing to visual journalism. The contest has a code of ethics and rigorous verification process, and entries are judged in terms of their accurate, fair, and visually compelling insights about the world. The jury for the photo contest will be announced on 16 November.
  2. The 2017 Digital Storytelling Contest – formerly known as the multimedia contest – will also open on 1 December 2016 and be judged at the same time as the photo contest, with the winners announced at the press conference in Amsterdam on 13 February 2017. The Digital Storytelling Contest rewards those storytellers producing the best digital forms of visual journalism presented. Both the new name and new schedule for this contest underscore the fact that digital storytelling is now at the heart of visual journalism and deserves greater recognition. The jury for the digital storytelling contest will be announced on 16 November.
  3. The 2017 World Press Photo Festival of Visual Journalism will be held in Amsterdam from Thursday, 20 April, through Saturday, 22 April. The festival is an expansion of the annual Awards Days into a public event showcasing the best image makers and visual stories in the world today. The festival, which will be given its own identity, will feature interviews, presentations and screenings by prizewinners from the photo and digital storytelling contests, as well as by international leaders discussing the transformations in the media landscape.
  4. The 2017 Awards Ceremony for the photo and digital storytelling contests will be an invitation-only event on the night of Saturday, 22 April.
  5. The new World Press Photo Live series of global debates will begin with an international event in May 2017. These debates will highlight issues of importance for visual journalism, such as the threats to press freedom, the state of the media economy, and new ways of reporting and storytelling. Up to four events a year, each lasting a day, will be held in different cities around the world. Presentations will be recorded and reported for “Witness,” the foundation’s new online publication (see below).
  6. The 6×6 Global Talent Program, another new project, will commence in July 2017. The foundation wants to increase diversity in visual journalism and storytelling, and this program – to be personally directed by Lars Boering – will identify six new talents from each of the world’s six continents each year. The program will use an expanded group of global nominators from each continent to propose candidates, and those selected will be published in “Witness”.
  7. The 2017 Joop Swart Masterclass will be held in Amsterdam in the last week of September 2017. Education is a priority for the World Press Photo Foundation, and this masterclass, named in honor of a former chairman, remains the pinnacle of the foundation’s educational programs. It is now supported by satellite masterclasses outside of Europe (Mexico City in 2015 and Nairobi in 2016) so as to further enhance the diversity of talent in visual journalism, as well as other workshops and training programs.
  8. In October 2017 there will be a new contest for creative documentary photography. While the name is yet to be finalized, this new contest will reward the most imaginative ways of telling stories available. This contest will be for professional visual storytellers who, in wanting to communicate about actual people, events or issues, deploy creative techniques in constructing, processing and presenting images. This contest will not have rules limiting how images are produced, and will not have categories. Entries can be single images or stories consisting of a series of images, and the judges will make a range of awards, with recognition for work in social documentary, personal documentary, alternative imaging, innovative presentation, amongst others, always looking for the unexpected.

Finally, “Witness,” the foundation’s new publication on Medium.com, will be launched on 1 November. This publication was foreshadowed as the online channel in our major statement last year.

“Witness” has been chosen as the name to reflect the foundation’s strategy of building on World Press Photo’s heritage in order to promote new thinking and new talent. The publication is edited by both external contributors and the communications team to make it a credible, critical, and independent-minded forum that promotes debate. It will have a number of sections addressing:

  • The Business (debates on the industry, entrepreneurial strategies, etc)
  • The Issues (debates on the media economy, images, technology etc)
  • The Talent (stories about, and interviews with, photographers, visual journalists, digital storytellers—both emerging and established)
  • The Skills (education and training)
  • The Stories (focus on interesting, innovative or groundbreaking projects)

Writers and contributors will be commissioned and paid for articles and visual stories in “Witness, and the foundation welcomes expressions of interest.

Lars Boering:
“These new activities, contests and programs – combined with an online publication to report on them – provide visual journalists and storytellers around the world with new ways of being recognized, new ways of being challenged, and new ways of being supported. They will make 2017 an historic year of change for the World Press Photo Foundation.”

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