World Press Photo exhibition in Iceland

The World Press Photo exhibition opened this week at Reykjavik’s Kringlan shopping centre. The exhibition is made up of winning entries from the world’s most prestigious press photography competition.

The World Press Photo exhibition has been an annual feature at Kringlan since 1984 — with the exception of the last two years. The WPP is the most demanding such competition in the world. This year 5,691 photographers from 125 countries sent in 108,059 photographs to be judged. The judging panel, made up of professional photographers, choose the best entries which are then blown up to poster size and displayed on boards in Kringlan, and in many other locations all over the planet.

“It is extremely stressful for the judging panel, as you can imagine,” says Famke van der Valk, the WPP representative who visited Iceland this week to help launch the exhibition.

WPP is an independent organisation which was set up in the Netherlands in 1955 with the goal of supporting and promoting the work of newspaper and magazine photographers in the wider world.

Asked about the position news photographers find themselves in these days, van der Valk says there are positive and negative elements:

“The picture has never been as widespread as it is today; photographs and videos are the core of 21st Century media. From that perspective the position of news photographers is strong. On the other hand we live in a time of speed and deadlines. It is more difficult to find funding for projects which take a longer time in the sphere of news photography than it was a few years ago. Saying that, there are an unbelievable number of creative photographers working today, as this exhibition attests.”

Reykjavik mayor Jon Gnarr opened the exhibition this Thursday. Canon and TNT sponsor the event all over the world. Iceland-specific WPP sponsors are Kringlan, Frettabladid, Nyherji and Jonsson & Le’macks.

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