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See the photo that changed history
Evacuated horses stand tied to a pole, as smoke from a wildfire billows above them, on Zuma Beach, in Malibu, California, USA. Photo by Wally Skalij for the Los Angeles Times. Image supplied courtesy of World Press Photo.
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The World Press Photo 2019 Exhibition is on now at the State Library of NSW. It runs from 25th May-23rd June and entry is free.
Unsurprisingly, every image in the exhibition is iconic and tells a story. Each photo reaches deep into your soul, squeezes hard, and demands your undivided attention.
Some photographers you may know from magazines like National Geographic or the New Yorker, whilst others are freelancers, trying to earn a living, yet capturing history in the process.
As a travel photographer, I relish seeing and reading about the stories of people in distant countries but they're also a reminder that these images helped to instigate change and that gives one hope, that all is not lost, no matter how desperate or disparaging things may seem.
The Almajiri Boy by Marco Gualazzini for Contrasto. Nominee for World Press Photo of the Year. Image supplied courtesy of World Press Photo.
The World Press Photo of the Year 2019 was the iconic image by John Moore (for Getty Images) of a screaming toddler, as her mother, Sandra Sanchez was arrested by US border officials. A victim of the 'zero tolerance' policy on migrants. I've seen this image dozens of times, plastered across news websites but it still has the power to grab you and elicit anger and sadness.
This single photo caused a public outcry and so President Trump reversed his decision to separate children from their parents when arrested for trying to enter the US without the required documentation. Proof that a single photo can change history.
World Press Photo of the Year 2019, Crying girl at the border, Image by John Moore for Getty Images. Image supplied courtesy of World Press Photo.
Other photos of the Migrant Caravan featured by Pieter Ten Hooper (for Agency VU/Civilian Act) won First Prize Stories. The below image resembles a scene from a zombie movie. But it's real, and it's easy to forget the stories of those so-called "illegal migrants" because they're over there, but as global warming makes more regions unliveable, mass migration is going to become a prominent feature making scenes like this, the norm rather than just something happening elsewhere.
A scene that potentially, we may find ourselves facing. Families, seeking a better life for their children, away from famine, fear of violence and corrupt governments. It's easy to think 'oh that will never happen here' but only recently, Venezuela was one of the richest countries in South America, now it's people are starving.
Part of The Migrant Caravan story. Winner World Press Photo Story of the Year. Image by Pieter Ten Hoopen, Agence Vu/Civilian Act. Image supplied courtesy of World Press Photo.
The law in Tehran states women are not allowed to attend a football match. Photographer Forough Alaei captured a striking photo of a young woman attending a national football match disguised as a man, at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran, Iran. She risks arrest by going.
Part of Crying for Freedom Story by Forough Alaei, Winner First Prize Sports Stories. Image supplied courtesy of World Press Photo.
Photographer Sarah Blesener won First Prize, Long Term Projects, for her portrayal of the patriotic and militarization of education in America and Russia (with a focus on women). She wanted to bring about the discussion of what the impact of educating youth, with a focus on war, may have in the future.
Students laugh backstage before a singing and marching competition, at School #6 gymnasium, Dmitrov, Russia. Image by Sarah Blesener, Winner First Prize, Long Term Projects. Image supplied courtesy of World Press Photo.
The winner of the First Prize, Portraits, Singles was Finbarr O'Reilly for his photograph highlighting fashion designer Adama Paris from Dakar in Senegal. She was a driving force behind the Annual Dakar Fashion Week which includes an extravagant street show that is attended by thousands.
World Press Photo Winner: Portraits 1st Prize Singles. Image by Finbarr O'Reilly. Diarra Ndiaye, Ndeye Fatou Mbaye and Mariza Sakho model outfits by designer Adama Paris, in the Medina neighbourhood of the Senegalese capital, Dakar, as curious residents look on. Image supplied courtesy of World Press Photo.
One of the most poignant images for me was the Third Prize Winner Environment, Singles by Mário Cruz of a small boy, asleep on a mattress on a pile of rubbish. It's the Pasig River in Manila and it's so polluted, you can walk across it. We may think that banning plastic bags in supermarkets or banning straws at our local cafe is saving the world, but we still have a long way to go as the Pasig River alone, releases up to 63,700 tons of plastic into the ocean each year. Proof that global problems require global solutions.
A child who collects recyclable material lies on a mattress surrounded by garbage floating on the Pasig River, in Manila, Philippines. Image by Mário Cruz, Environment, Third Prize Singles. Image supplied courtesy of World Press Photo.
At a glance, the World Press Photo Exhibition can seem like an overwhelming display of the worst of humanity—an end of days that is already here, but then amongst it all; a warm happy photo of a girl, picking flowers as she walks towards her new life. It's then we're reminded that it's the little things that matter, and whilst we have those, it's not too late to have hope to change the bigger things.
A girl picks flowers during the day's walk from Tapanatepec to Niltepec, a distance of 50 km. Image by Pieter Ten Hoopen for Agence Vu/Civilian Act. Image supplied courtesy of World Press Photo.
The World Press Photo 2019 Exhibition is on now at the State Library of NSW on Macquarie St in Sydney. It's open the following times:
**Extended opening hours from 27 May to 21 June 2019
Monday to Friday: 9 am to 8 pm
On 7, 14 and 21 June, there will be a 'Friday Night Lates' series. Visitors to this series will gain access to the World Press Photo 2019 Exhibition and there will be an onsite DJ and bar.
Exhibitions standard opening hours
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday: 9 am to 5 pm
Thursday: 9 am to 8 pm
Saturday, Sunday: 10 am to 5 pm
You can purchase a catalogue of all the works from the library gift shop for $40. If you'd like to check the suitability of the exhibition for younger audiences, you can view the images online here.
For information on getting to the State Library, check their website here.
The library has been renovated since the exhibition was on last year and there are now several other exhibitions including an interactive audio tour (headphones supplied) and hundreds of paintings of early Australia.
A winged comb jelly, Leucothea multicornis, its wings widely opened, propels itself through waters off Alicante, Spain. Image by Angel Fitor, Winner Nature, Third Prize, Singles. Image supplied courtesy of World Press Photo.