Inspirational Images at the World Press Photo Exhibition

Inspirational Images at the World Press Photo Exhibition

Founded in Amsterdam in 1955, the World Press

Photo constitutes an independent, non profit organisation that produces over

100 exhibitions each year across the globe, alluring admirers in their droves

through astounding visual journalism. This emphatic tour of prize winning

photography is regarded as the most popular of its kind in the world, which

strives to expose both the horror and beauty of modern life through the lens.

The Dutch

location for the World Press Photo Exhibition certainly lives up to the event’s

prestigious reputation, rewarding visitors with not only an exceptional

anthology of images but also the stunning backdrop of the capital’s oldest

building, the treasured Oude Kerk, simply translated as the Old Church. Dating

back to the 1300s and originally entitled Saint Nicholas Church in honour of

the patron saint of sailors, this magnificent monument has continued its

imperative role as a religious and cultural focal point to the present day,

utilised for various official functions and temporary presentations.


positioning of the Old Church often comes as a surprise to most first time

guests of the city, as this historical construct adorns a circular plaza amidst

a series of Amsterdam’s infamously tinted windows in the heart of the Red Light

District, representing the epitome of Dutch tolerance.

My initial

encounters with this impressive edifice consisted of a distant appreciation of

the striking external architecture, enjoyed from the opposing Old Church

coffeeshop during my early trips to the capital, when sightseeing solely revolved

around this enigmatic neighbourhood and the odd venture to the Leidseplein.

After moving to the city and fervently denouncing all areas tourist prone, the

Red Light District became a lost quarter, frequented only for the appeasement

of visiting friends and family.


unabashed snobbery diminished over time for two reasons, the first being a new

found discovery of Amsterdam’s heritage, with this lively locality boasting

more history than any other part of the city, and the second being the

unearthing of the World Press Photo Exhibition. Introduced by my partner who

had attended the event for several years, my initiation to this enriching treat

occurred in the spring of 2010. Sharing a distinct lack of interest in other

art forms, aside from a mutual passion for film, the inspiring field of

photography provided a cultural outlet we could both indulge in, and the

exposition’s setting allowed a fascinating glimpse into the area’s incredible



immediate impression when entering the church is one of capacious light,

reflected in a myriad of colour through the medieval stained glass windows,

which beautifully illuminates the carpet of tombstones that secrete over 10,000

citizens. This bright yet evocative atmosphere grants a superlative platform

for showcasing photographs, which are arranged in an unassuming manner void of

embellishments, enabling direct focus on each individual image.

Having no

previous experience of the press photo world, I admit I was utterly shocked by

some of the presentations, indeed the vast majority, that stood naked depicting

moments of pure devastation from such harrowing subjects as war, poverty, crime,

and seemingly every aspect of human wretchedness. That overwhelming and totally

unprepared feeling of sadness is still as vivid today as I recollect that first

perusal through life’s injustices. Aside from such distressing images of

contemporary issues, the exhibition featured several light hearted options from

the spectrum of sport, nature and the arts, concluding a phenomenal compilation

of provocative, inspirational and breathtaking photography.

With such a

dazzling display of visual journalism on offer and a remarkable setting to

boot, the World Press Photo Exhibition comes highly recommended for anyone

seeking an unforgettable afternoon of enlightenment, with the 2013 instalment

descending upon the Old Church from Friday the 26th of April until

Sunday the 23rd of June. Tickets can be purchased at the entrance

and the exhibition is open to the public Monday to Sunday, with more information

available at the event’s website at