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The 2019 World Press Photo Exhibition Was Launched in Chisinau: ‘The Public Has the Chance to Connect to Realities from Different Corners of the World’

02 December 2019
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In Chisinau was launched the third edition of the prestigious international World Press Photo exhibition, organized by the ‘World Press Photo’ Foundation from the Netherlands, in partnership with the Independent Journalism Center, with the support of the Embassy Office of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The event took place on Thursday, 21 November, at the National Museum of History of Moldova.
Accredited representatives of the diplomatic corps in Chisinau, journalists, photographers and students participated in the launching of the exhibition, conducted under the ‘Stories that matter’ title.
Embassy Office of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Chisinau Charge d'affaires a.i., Floris van Eijk, mentioned that every year the ‘World Press Photo’ Foundation organizes this exhibition to award photographers from all over the world for the best pictures that contributed to the development of visual journalism. ‘Every year, the exhibition moves all over the world and we are happy to bring it for the third time to Chisinau. The stories behind these pictures are true, they were not manipulated, and the images were not retouched’, said Floris van Eijk, specifying that by organizing this exhibition in Chisinau, the Embassy supports the freedom of the media and the access to information in the Republic of Moldova.
Anita Awolaja, a representative of the ‘World Press Photo’ Foundation from the Netherlands, said that since 1955, when the first edition of this exhibition took place, the purpose of the ‘World Press Photo’ Foundation has remained the same: to promote visual journalism and to share it with a wide audience the stories behind the pictures. ‘Last year, we have found that at global level, the freedom of the media is increasingly threatened, and journalists from all over the world do not feel safe. The ‘World Press Photo’ Foundation continues to fight for the freedom of the media, providing journalists with a platform to document stories that matter. Although the images are different, the only topic that stands out this year is the resilience shown by the people around the world. Facing these extraordinary challenges, they continue to find ways to live a happy life and enjoy their freedom,’ said Anita Awolaja.

Nadine Gogu, Executive Director of the Independent Journalism Center, pointed out that the exhibition is not just prestigious, but important as well.  ‘When I say important, I mean not only its value for the photojournalist profession, but for the general public as well. World Press Photo is not just about promoting freedom of expression through pictures: it’s about general public too, about people who are given the chance to connect to realities from different corners of the world. There are different photos and they tell us the stories that happened in 2018, some of them managing to shock us, and others to raise awareness. We are glad that this year as well we had the opportunity to bring the exhibition to Chisinau,’ said Nadine Gogu.
Photojournalist Nicolae Pojoga mentioned that there are about 500 international photography contests in the world. ‘In my opinion, World Press Photo is the best. It's kind of an Oscar, if we were to compare photography with cinematography. Beyond this finding, I want to say that things that happen in the world, happen everywhere. Previously, I used to perceive these photos as being from another planet. Now I know they belong to our planet, where we all live,’ concluded Nicolae Pojoga.
The 2019 World Press Photo Exhibition includes 140 photographs capturing realities and major events that marked the humanity, being taken during 2018 in different countries of the world.
The World Photo of the Year award was granted this year to the American photographer, John Moore, who took the picture of a Honduran toddler, Yanela Sanchez, who was crying, as she and her mother, Sandra Sanchez, were taken into the custody by US border officers in McAllen, Texas, USA, on 12 June. Sandra Sanchez said she and her daughter traveled for a month through Central America and Mexico before reaching the United States to seek political asylum. The Trump administration announced a zero-tolerance policy at the border, according to which immigrants caught while trying to enter the country illegally could be prosecuted. As a result, many parents detained by the authorities were separated from their children, often being sent to different detention centers. After the photo was published worldwide, the US Customs and Border Protection Services confirmed that Yanela and her mother were not among those several thousands of parents and children who were separated by the US authorities. However, the massive protests caused by the controversial practice prompted President Donald Trump to give up this policy on 20 June.
The winning photos were selected from 78,801 works, made by 4,738 photographers from 129 countries. The jury nominated 43 photographers from 25 countries: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Hungary, Iran, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Syria, Turkey, Great Britain, USA and Venezuela. As many as 14 (32%) out of the total number of photographers are women, a significant increase compared to 2018, when only 12% of the nominated photographers were women.
The annual international World Press Photo exhibition travels all over the world. It is installed in about 100 showrooms in over 45 countries and is visited by over 4 million people each edition. Before arriving in Chisinau, the exhibition was organized in New York, Naples, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Chicoutimi, Maastricht, Valencia, Guayaquil, Gavoi, Maia Taipei, Paris, Amsterdam, Oldenburg and Washington DC, etc. 
The first edition of the World Press Photo took place in 1955, when a group of Dutch photographers organised a contest to expose their work to a global audience. Since then the contest has grown into the world’s most prestigious photography and visual journalism competition.
Here in Chisinau, the general public is invited to discover the life stories behind those 140 photos at the National Museum of History during 23 November – 12 December 2019.
In Moldova, the exhibition was held for the first time in 2017.
The event is organized by the ‘World Press Photo’ Foundation from the Netherlands, in partnership with the Independent Journalism Center, with the support of Embassy Office of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Chisinau.