By Tajudeen Sowole
THE dream of turning Lagos into another photography destination in Africa has received a boost with a partnership agreement between a yearly event, LagosPhoto and the well-known World Press Photo Contest.
According to a statement from African Artists Foundation, the organizers of LagosPhoto, a three-year partnership has been reached with the prestigious World Press Photo to bring the competition to Lagos.
Currently, The Bamako Encounters, Mali is Africa’s leading photography event. Debuted in 2010, LagosPhoto is designed as a photography festival with events such as indoor and outside exhibitions, workshops and amateur competition. During the 2012 edition of LagosPhoto, the work of a five-time World Press Photo Contest winner, Stanley Greene was exhibited alongside other photographers from across the world.
The World Press Photo, founded in 1955, organises post-award exhibitions, which are taken to several countries after the winners of the award are announced every February. Although the list of the countries where the post-award exhibitions would hold have not been released on the website of the organisers, Lagos may just be one of the venues where the exhibitions of the works of the finalists from the 2013 edition will hold.
However, LagosPhoto is optimistic that it has a partnership with the World Press Photo. “LagosPhoto is proud to announce a three-year partnership with World Press Photo, which will bring the preeminent worldwide competition of photojournalism and documentary photography to Lagos,” the statement from LagosPhoto assured.
The statement clarified further, “the three-year contract with World Press Photo will bring the international photography competition each year alongside LagosPhoto.”
It should be recalled that during the 2012 edition of World Press Photo, Africa participated when Tunisia’s Centre National D'art Vivant De Tunis was among the nine cities where the tour exhibitions held across the world.
However, the Media Coordinator of World Press Photo, Barbara Bufkens, in her response via email stated, “The 2013 exhibition tour will start in April. Our calendar has not been updated yet, as it changes every year.” She listed Tunis, Djerba, Luanda, Cape Town as previous African cities that had hosted past editions.
Meanwhile, categories for the 2013 have been slightly changed compared to the previous editions. Managing Director, World Press Photo, Michiel Munneke stated: "In 2010, we introduced the system of specialized juries for Sports, Nature, and Portraits, to bring more focus into the judging. We have spoken with former judges and people throughout the industry and believe it is time for the next step in the contest. For the 2013 Photo Contest, we have refined the category definitions to improve the quality of the entries."
The list of the 2013 Photo Contest categories include: General News, Spot News, Contemporary Issues, Daily Life, People, Observed Portraits, Staged Portraits, Nature, Sports, Sports Action and Sports Feature.
Munneke noted, "There are a growing number of awards and recognitions for photojournalists, but World Press Photo is unique. The scope of its reach brings the work of photojournalists to the general public through the exhibition and website, which draw millions. While adapting the categories, we want to sustain that relationship and keep the categories clear and recognizable to our audiences."
World Press Photo also organises educational projects throughout
the world: seminars, workshops and the annual Joop Swart Master class. Each year, distinguished juries of photography professionals announce prizes for winning photographs, which are assembled as an exhibition and travelled to over 45 countries in the course of the year. As the largest and most prestigious international photography contest, the World Press Photo exhibition reaches an audience of over two million people annually.
Gary Knight, the founder of one of the world’s leading photo agencies, VII Photo Agency, will chair the 56th World Press Photo Contest.