I had yesterday my inspiration day in Helsinki. One reason to travel was to participate in Opening Ceremony of World Press Photo. It’s always interesting to see photo exhibitions and of course to see friends at the same time 🙂

Among WPP -photo exhibition it was interesting to participate Opening Ceremony because World Press Photo Contest Winner Mads Nissen (Denmark) was there too and he shared us why and how he did his Photo of the Year. I also enjoyed guided tour by World Press Photo Exhibition Manager Femke van der Valk. Very detailed.


Manipulated images and smartphone images

In general it was interesting when Femke van der Valk told us that about 22% images sent to the contest had to be discarded because they were manipulated. I think it’s good that WPP Organization shares this kind of information public. It reminds us that we always have to keep our minds critical even when we see images called documentary. It’ also brings out the question of photographer’s ethic and moral today.

Other interesting point was that one of the category winner images was done with smartphone. No more professional photographer use only “real” cameras.


Russian gay couple in World Press Photo of the Year

Danish photographer Mads Nissen was in the opening ceremony and he told us about his image:

“This morning I walked from the hotel to Sanomatalo. There were bunch of people on the street to collect names to list which protest against gay marriages. Next to them there were gay couples – and what did they do? They didn’t spit, they didn’t throw rocks, they were kissing. What a strong message.
I hope we all have someone to love. My image of Russian gay couple is not image of gay couple, but image of couple in love What I witnessed this morning cleared me once again how important this matter is not only in Russia but everywhere in the world.”

I always enjoy to listen photographers when the tell stories behind images, how they got their ideas and passion to shoot, and this was my question to Mads yesterday.

“I was in St. Petersburg and I was watching pride parade. I met there guy called Pavel. When we were standing on the street, someone came to ask Pavel is he gay. Pavel said yes and immediately this guy hit him straight to his face. I was in shock and I couldn’t do anything. I realized that photography is my tool, and I knew at that point what to shoot.”


Image Kuva antaa tilaa katsojan tulkinnalle, kuva ja teksti yhdessä kertovat valokuvaajan viestin

During guided tour Femke van der Valk asked us what we think about World Press Photo of the Year. Because I already know story of image I tried to clear my mind of and think image only as visual piece of art. It reminded me of Renaissance paintings: colors of image and poses of people which were dramatic and classical. It also reminded me of religious theme of dying Jesus with one of his mourning followers. I also thought that image has same kind of style that Finnish painter Akseli Gallen-Kallela. Especially it reminded me of certain painting: Mother of Lemminkäinen: composition, bony people and simplified colors.

Still I find texts meaningful to World Press Photo images – they give frame of reference to images. Image is not just image, there’s story or statement behind it. When viewer knows the story, image can be more effective, it can change viewer’s point of view of thoughts, maybe it even makes him act. Isn’t it one of the reasons of photojournalistic images?


Gallery of Awarded WPP images.

World Press Photo -photo exhibition is in Sanomatalo until September, 10th, 2015. Great to have international photo exhibitions in Finland!

Read more about World Press Photo Organization.