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Confronting, but Thought Provoking
World Press Photo Exhibition 2017 runs until June 25 at the State Library of NSW.
The World Press Photo Exhibition 2017 is currently on at the State Library of NSW, until June 25 and entry is free.
The exhibition showcases the best and worst of humanity from the world's leading press photographers covering themes such as general news, sports, and wildlife.
This year's winner was controversial as some argued it was glorifying martyrdom but there's no denying the power of the image of the assassination of the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, by photographer Burhan Ozbilici.
Many images in the exhibition was a case of the photographer being in the right place, at the right time with camera ready. Historical moments captured which fully illustrates the magic and beauty of photography.
This year expect images of the conflict in Syria, Iraq, the refugee crisis, and lesser known stories such as the opening up of Cuba, shanty towns of Brazil and the continued war on ivory poachers.
One of the most poignant images I found was the image (by photographer Laurent Van der Stockt) of a terrified young girl in Iraq, as members of a counter-terrorism battalion search her home looking for members of Islamic State.
It's moments like these that really put the viewer in the picture, and tell the story of a world of fear and bewilderment, far beyond our world of carrying on about the price of a smashed avocado on toast.
General news, First Prize winning entry by photographer Laurent Van der Stockt. Image courtesy of www.worldpressphoto.org
There's an image of the body of a refugee floating, in the Mediterranean ocean, life-jacket still attached; taken by photographer Mathieu Willcocks. It sums up broken dreams, the desperation of refugees and the forgotten hopes of Syrians, who ultimately, just want to go home and rebuild their war-torn nation.
The body of a refugee floats in the Mediterranean Sea. Photo by Mathieu Willcocks, image courtesy of www.worldpressphoto.org
A photo of a family fleeing Mosul in Iraq by photographer Sergey Ponomarev faces uncertainty. It's images like these that show the reality of life in conflict zones and the desperate struggle to stay safe.
An image showing the overcrowding in Quezon City Jail in the Philippines (a result of President Duterte's tough stance on drug users). In a prison built to house 800, there are 3800 inmates. The tangled limbs, the pink walls could at first glance be a highly stylised artistic shot. It's only when you look closer and see the sweaty faces you realise they don't want to be there.
Other collections show a world few outsiders know anything about, like the daily life of Iranians, shut off from western society after the Iran Revolution of 1979. Did you know Iran has one of the highest rates of plastic surgery for noses in the world?
Allow an hour to see the exhibition in full and to read all the captions. Some images you will instantly recognise like the perfectly timed photo of Usain Bolt, smiling straight at the camera, before winning a gold medal at the Rio Olympics.
Some may argue the exhibition is exploiting the poor and desperate but they too have stories that deserve to be told. The world press exhibition is a snapshot of the world, current events and it's people; a story that's not always pretty and manicured.
If you plan on taking children, be warned there are images of dead bodies, that may be confronting, however there are only a few (and they can be skipped over). Check the gallery beforehand to get an idea of what to expect.
The World Press Photo Exhibition is moving and it's easy to push these stories aside because they are happening in other countries, but it's definitely an exhibition everyone should see.