Fri, Jul 12, 2002 - Page 17 News List

2001 in 200 images

Local photography buffs will be able to view a selection of some of the best photographic imagery of the past year, when the annual World Press Photo Exhibition opens its doors to the public at the Tunhua Eslite bookstore in Taipei tomorrow afternoon

By Gavin Phipps  /  STAFF REPORTER

Michael Scheil won first prize in the Daily Life category


Award-winning celluloid and digital imagery of some of the defining moments of 2001 goes on display at the Eslite Bookstore's Tunhwa branch tomorrow afternoon, when the World Press Photo Exhibition once again rolls into town as part of its annual 35 country tour.

Established by the Netherlands-based World Press Photo Foundation, the World Press Photo contest, which is now in its 45th year, is regarded by many as the world's leading press photography contest and attracts thousands of entries from photojournalists, news agencies, newspapers and magazines from around the world.

Divided into nine categories and nine sub-categories ranging from general news, spot news, people in the news, the arts, sports and children, the contest is judged by an independent jury consisting of nine members.

"Because the judges come from many different cultures and backgrounds this ensures there is never any bias towards one geographical area or culture," said Canadian photojournalist, David W. Smith, who took second place in the general news category in 2000 for a 921 earthquake shot. "The sheer volume of the pictures sent in must make it a real chore to honor a select few."

This year the foundation received a record number of submissions. A staggering 49,235 photos were submitted by 4,171 photographers representing 123 countries.

In addition to the increase in entrants, the foundation also saw a huge rise in the number digitized entries. Whereas in 2001 only 27.5 percent of the images were on digital format, this year 55.7 percent of the works were digital photographs.

Of all the thousands of entrants it was Danish photographer, Erik Refner who took top honors, however. Repeating the 2000 success of fellow Dane, Claus Bjorn Larson, by taking the World Press Photo of the Year for a shot that appeared in the Danish daily, Berlingske Tibende.

What: The 2002 World Press Photo Exhibition

Where: Eslite Bookstore Art Space, B2, 245 Tunhua S. Rd., Sec. 1 (誠品書店藝文空間,敦化南路1段245號B2).

When: 3pm, July 13 until Aug. 4.

Taken in Pakistan in June of last year, the moving and artistic black and white shot shows the body of a young Afghan refugee boy being prepared for burial.

"Denmark has become a hotbed for photo journalists in recent years. There are so many good photo journalists there it's quite amazing when you consider the size of the country," said Smith. "I reckon a lot of people expected to see a photo of a plane crashing into a building winning, but I think the jury wanted to look a bit deeper into the cause and effect of last years biggest news story."

While Taiwan based photographers such as Smith and Chang Chien-chi (張乾琦), who took the top prize in 1999 in the daily life category for a photo series on Chinese immigrants in New York, have enjoyed success in the contest in previous years, works by Taiwan-based photographers are sadly absent from this year's exhibition.

Sarina Yeh (葉姿吟), vice CEO of the Premier Foundation and organizer of the traveling photo exhibition's Taiwan leg, feels is a great shame, but indicative of photography in Taiwan at the present juncture in time.

"I feel that the popularity of documentary photography in Taiwan is being replaced by a trend that sees local photographers leaning towards contemporary art, rather than the recording of global events for prosperity," Yeh said. "Which is a real shame. As with the lack of international news coverage by local television stations, it could in the long run lead to younger generations becoming unaware of international affairs and events."

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