World Press Photo 2016 is a global exhibition showcasing the best visual journalism of the past year. Compelling photos are displayed in the State Library of New South Wales until the 19th of June. I urge you to visit the impressive library and the exhibition. But a fair warning, some photos are graphic so viewer discretion is advised.
The atmosphere at the exhibition was silent and reflective. The photos felt emotional and raw, bringing to life the phrase “a picture is worth a 1000 words”. The photos brought to life some of the remotest parts of the world, such as the Larung Gar Buddhist Academy in the Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. Tibetan Buddhists would travel to this place for the week-long Bliss Dharma Assembly. Photos of the earthquake that hit Nepal were also featured. These were some of the most emotional photos I had ever seen, apart from photos of the refugee crisis.
Beautiful shots of nature, as well as some of the bloody truths of the world, are on display. They remind us to acknowledge that even though some of these issues don’t affect us directly, it will surely affect us in the long-run both personally and as a species. News of devastating events such as the earthquake in Nepal, the refugee crisis, or police brutality becomes much more real because you can’t simply change the channel and pretend things like that aren’t happening.
But, not all photos that were displayed were of devastation. There were shots of sports such as basketball, ski-jump, and synchronized swimming.
Photos of cultural traditions such as the feast of Las Mayas were included as well.
Life at the Antarctic was also captured, truly reminding us that there is life just about anywhere.
It is important to remember that though these shots are beautiful, they are more than art. They are real people, real photographers, who sometimes risk their lives to showcase the truth. These are real issues and each shot tells a story. This exhibition connects us with each other because empathy is universal.
So please, visit the exhibition and see for yourself these compelling images because the photos featured in this article do not do them any justice. The library opens at 9am Monday – Friday and 10am Saturday – Sunday.