The Institute is partnering with the State Library of NSW to showcase the world’s best photojournalism from 2019 at the World Press Photo exhibition in Sydney.
The exhibition, which runs from August 15 to October 18, features more than 150 images and series, captured by professional photographers from around the world. The ongoing effects of climate change and Australia’s recent catastrophic bushfires can be seen among the powerful and evocative images.
The coveted Photo of the Year shows a young man, illuminated by mobile phones, reciting protest poetry while demonstrators chant slogans calling for civilian rule, during a blackout in Khartoum, Sudan. ‘Straight Voice’, was captured by Yasuyoshi Chiba on June 19, 2019, just days after authorities sought to defuse protests by imposing blackouts and shutting down the internet.
This year’s contest honours three Australian photographers. Matthew Abbott was awarded second prize in the ‘Spot News (Stories)’ category for his portfolio, which included his iconic image of a kangaroo attempting to escape the flames, silhouetted against the ruins of a burning house near Lake Conjola in NSW.
Sean Davey’s picture of children playing under eerie orange skies at a bushfire evacuation centre in Bega was awarded second prize in the ‘Contemporary Issues (Singles)’ category. Adam Ferguson won first prize (Portraits) for his portrayal of displaced people from camps in northern Iraq.
The Executive Director of the Judith Neilson Institute, Mark Ryan, said photojournalism brought the best and worst of the human condition to vast audiences every day.
“The photographers who capture these images often do so in appalling conditions and at great risk to their own lives,” Mark Ryan said.
“They do it with empathy and compassion and their work deserves not just to be seen, but to be valued and celebrated as it is through this exhibition.”
State Librarian John Vallance said: “Despite the challenges of COVID-19, we were determined to bring one of our most popular exhibitions to Sydney for the 20th year, with the generous support of Canon Australia and, for the first time, in partnership with the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.”
“We have protective measures in place in all of our galleries, including sanitising stations and a one-way traffic system, to ensure the health and safety of everyone who comes through our doors,” says Dr Vallance.
“During these strange and troubling times, this exhibition is a powerful reminder of why photojournalism is such a vital part of documenting what is happening to us all around the world,” said Dr Vallance. “Some visitors will be moved, and some will be confronted but all who come to the Library will walk away having experienced something truly unique.”
Nina Spannari, General Manager, Marketing and Customer Experience, Canon Australia said: “The exhibition honours the extraordinary talent and dedication of press photographers around the world and Canon is proud to support the State Library in bringing World Press Photo to Australians.”
The World Press Photo Exhibition 2020 is free at the State Library of NSW, Macquarie St Sydney, from 15 August to 18 October 2020. More details of the public programming and events surrounding the exhibition will be announced soon.