World Press Photo exhibition
MAASTRICHT. From 19 October until 11 November, Centre Céramique is hosting the annual World Press Photo exhibition. The competition receives photos from around the world showcasing a variety of news works that emulating depth and creativity, allowing visitors to engage with news events more personally.
Even on a weekday Wednesday afternoon, visitors are attracted to the site, with the Centre’s front staff commenting how each year the event entices large groups of people from all ages. Upon entering the forum, there is an instant shift in emotion and behavior enthralling visitors with the photos. It is seemingly impossible to walk away bemused, lacking emotion or fervor as observers intently digest photos of girls in Cameroon ironing their breasts to prevent sexual advances and rape in their communities, among other shocking exposés.
Carefully dispersed throughout the foyer of Centre Céramique, sections display various photos of nature, people, sports, hard news, among others with the competition’s winning photo on spotlight, documented by Venezuelan Ronalde Schemidt. A particular display of shocking hard news, Schemidt showcases a man caught on fire amid violent clashes with riot police during a protest in Caracas, Venezuela, illustrating the devasting effects of the political crisis in the country.
Exhibiting works from all continents, onlookers take note of their visceral reactions to the photos; since attending for the past decade since her teenage years, Maastricht-native Dana reflects on the gradual worsening of the photos noting that “the images have been getting harsher and more violent,” which she attributes media coverage as the culprit. Others, like Sven, simply get lost in the photo array, marveling how the intense, exquisite photography exposes the harsh reality of today’s world, “showing the news in a different light.”
Off to the side, mellower works highlight other interesting news pieces, such as Dutch photographer Carla Kogelman’s depiction of the bioenergy village Waldviertel located in an isolated rural area of Austria near the Czech border, encompassing around 170 inhabitants. Likewise, the picture of two Chinese brothers living in a traditional kiln cave (“yaodong”) on the hillside of the Loess Plateau enable urban observers to experience a distinctly unfamiliar way of living.