“Photography is a small voice, at best, but sometimes one photograph, or a group of them, can lure our sense of awareness”. That quotation by American photojournalist, war photographer and artist [1918 – 1978] highlights some of the forces of reportage photography: its value as a historical document for information and power to change the looks and the realities. For the fifth consecutive year, the Centre for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB) presents the World Press Photo 09, an important event that makes us aware of current affairs around the world. Another event you can not miss is the FotoPres09 at Caixa Forum, where you will have another opportunity to reflect on contemporary society and its conflicts.
Today, being a press photographer is a way to not only portray the world crisis, the conflict in Georgia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Venezuela and Kenya, the tsunami in Burma, immigration, social inequality, gender violence but also the most unusual and poetic realities of this world. Other things are changes in sexual behaviour in our society, the faces of some athletes at the Tokyo Olympics, an intimate Barack Obama, luxury and many other things never before seen. The talent of some of these professional photojournalists will leave you speechless.
This year shows the amazing work of Spanish photojournalist Emilio Morenatti which won the FotoPres 09 first prize. Along with eight other professionals, nine portraits of Pakistani women victims of gender violence will be exhibited: they have been disfigured by an acid attack. Some were operated on up to 25 times, some of them dream of regaining their sight or just to have a decent education. These women posed with great courage in front of the camera, dressed in colour on a neutral background to denounce what they are going through. Marta Ramoneda, Morenatti’s companion, shows us another reality in the Pakistani society: the world of transsexuals. The work of Argentine Walter Astrada won him second prize with the violence in Kenya, Alfonso Moral - third prize with the Lebanese conflict, Mikel Aristregi - alcoholism in Mongolia and Lourdes R. Basoli for the situation in Caracas, Venezuela. Those professionals who were “here and now” either received scholarships or were awarded for these images whose main goal is to raise awareness about the realities of our world.
The World Press Photo 09 exhibition shows the 200 winning entries in the first annual international competition in press photography. Nearly 6,000 professional photojournalists submitted their work for the competition, originating from 124 countries along with some 100,000 images. The exhibition will tour 100 cities around the world. Do not forget to visit FotoPres09 with its 135 stunning photos that will occupy room 2 of the Caixa Forum until 21 February. This is also an event not to be missed.
If you’re a little sensitive, we suggest you go accompanied to both exhibitions because there are some distressing images. To finish off your stay in Barcelona, the best option is to rent apartments in Barcelona which are both cheap and comfortable.