The photgraph below has just been named the Photo of the Year by the 2017 World Press Awards.

World Press Photo of the Year: Burhan. Source: 2017 Photo Contest | World Press Photo

For the NY Times’s take see: The World’s Best Photo?

While it’s certainly a very powerful picture and the photographer deserves considerable credit for maintaining his cool in an extremely dangerous situation, I not convinced that this deserves to take first prize. Certainly it deserves an award, but perhaps not first prize.

The photographer was already there, with his camera presumably at the ready. Yes, he could certainly have ‘done a runner’ (which is what I probably would have done), but he didn’t, remaining to get the shot. However, the story the picture tells is all too common: crazy person with gun kills someone. OK, in this case the victim was someone of significance, but the message remains. Unfortunately, it happens all the time (particularly in the US).

I much prefer the picture below, which to me tells a much more complex story of downtrodden people; over militarized police; remaining calm in the face of pressure etc. Although we don’t know the end of the story here I like to think that it’s a positive one, whereas in the picture above it’s overwhelmingly negative.

Taking a Stand in Baton Rouge by Jonathan Bachmann. Source: 2017 Photo Contest | World Press Photo

To conclude I find that I must take exception to the New York Times headline: “The World’s Best Photo?” World’s best NEWS photo – maybe? There are, however, lots of genres other than news: landscape; wildlife; portrait; documentary; street etc. etc. I don’t think you can declare a photograph as ‘World’s Best’ unless you take them all into consideration, which the Times certainly does not attempt to do in this article.

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