World Press Photo Exhibit Opens at Canadian War Museum

July 28, 2015 Updated: August 1, 2015

To see how the world’s top photographers viewed the world circa 2014 is both startling and educational. The 2015 edition of World Press Photo, which opened July 23 at the Canadian War Museum, shows images of everyday life as well as what’s making headline news around the globe.

The 145 large-format images by photographers from 131 countries fall into eight categories: Contemporary Issues, Daily Life, General News, Long-Term Projects, Nature, Portraits, Sports, and Spot News. The images cover everything from human trafficking and the Ebola epidemic to the crimes of ISIS and the mass abduction of Nigerian girls by Boko Haram.

“As always we can expect to see thought-provoking images that tell compelling human and social stories, while fostering healthy debate about contemporary issues, including armed combat,” Mark O’Neill, president and CEO of both the Canadian War Museum and the Canadian Museum of History, says in a posting on the War Museum’s website.

The museum, which is holding the World Press Photo exhibit for the eighth consecutive year, warned that some visitors might find the subject matter disturbing.

The images make it obvious that, seen through the eyes of award-winning, globe-trotting photographers, the world needs help. Among the more disturbing photos are those showing the victims of Ebola; degradation and pollution in China; people fleeing their warring countries; and orphans such as Igor, who had to leave his birthday chocolate behind when he fled a war zone.

Other stark images include those of animals in distress or near extinction.

Visitors to World Press Photo 15 can access information about the images and the photographers by tapping their smartphones against the descriptive panel. No special app is required. This multimedia feature offers captions in nine languages as well as background stories and technical information about the images. Interviews with the photographers are also available, as are links to related work.

The World Press Photo foundation is a non-profit organization committed to supporting and advancing high standards in photojournalism and documentary storytelling worldwide. The aim is to generate wide public interest in and appreciation of the work of photographers and other visual journalists as well as promoting the free exchange of information. Activities include organizing an annual photojournalism and multimedia contest, as well as global exhibition tours.

The exhibition, presented in partnership with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, will be on view in Ottawa until Aug. 19. It will then travel to Montreal, Toronto, and Chicoutimi, Quebec. For more information, visit: warmuseum.ca, or on Twitter @CanWarMuseum

Susan Hallett is an award-winning writer and editor who has written for The Beaver, The Globe & Mail, Wine Tidings and Doctor’s Review, among others. Email: hallett_susan@hotmail.com