Journalists explain reality through words, but also through images. Just as an image needs interpretation, words are usually not enough to give the audience an accurate portrait of reality. Nevertheless, when we accompany them with the right picture, it can be engraved in people’s minds. That’s way the World Press Photo Contest exists.
The World Press Photo Foundation, which was born in 1955 as an initiative of some dutch photographers, has now become one of the most important photojournalism events worldwide. Last year, for example, in the 60th World Press Photo Contest, 5034 photographers from 126 different countries participated with their works.
Between the multiple topics treated in this annual exposition, it has a particular value from a journalistic and human view, the subject of migration. Conflict, political persecution, poverty or clima change are some of the reasons that lead people to those dangerous crossings. We will now analyze four pictures of 2016 and 2015’s contest which remind us different migration crisis all over the world.
1. Hope for a new life – Spot news, first prize singles (August 28, 2015)
Here we have an image of the currently humanitarian crisis in Europe. The place is a point in the border between Serbia and Hungary. A baby is being passed through a hole from hand to hand. This scene took place in the summer of 2015, when Hungary was building a four-meter-high barrier fence to prevent refugees from entering the country. This group of people had passed four hours hiding from the border police. Although it is not a very clear image it manages to convey the feeling of urgency and fear.
2. Mediterranean migration – Spot news, 3rd prize stories (June 29, 2016)
This picture was taken in front of the coast of Libya. Here we can see some refugees in the hold of a boat which carries, in total, 500 people. After the migration deal between the UE and Turkey (the “shame deal”), people started using other ways. Refugees from different countries reunite now in North Africa and cross the Mediterranean sea in dinghies. Which makes special that picture is the contrast between the beauty of the colors and the toughness of the reality it shows.
3. Left alone – General news, 2nd prize singles (July 28, 2016)
Two siblings (11 and 10 years) from Nigeria cry once they’ve been picked up from their dinghy in the Mediterranean sea. Their boat where rescued by the catalan NGO Proactiva Open Arms. According to the photographer, after being rescued, they began to call their mother. But she had died earlier, in Libya. The migrants say it’s the hardest phase of the journey, where they suffer more violations of their human rights.
4. The Libyan Migrant Trap – Contemporary Issues, 3rd prize singles (August 17, 2016)
Here again we can see nigerian refugees. They are in a women detention center in Surnam, Libya. In those centers people denounce physical and sexual violence, in addition to the lack of water and food. We can forget that, as always, in every situation of conflict, women are the most punished.