World Press Photo Exhibition: An emotional roller coaster ride

Having visited nearly 100 cities in 45 countries, the annual World Press Photo exhibition has arrived at its final destination, Singapore. From 8 to 30 March, 154 stunning photos by the world’s top 54 photographers are on show in the iconic setting of Raffles Hotel. The award-winning photos form an eyewitness record of global events from the previous year, giving the viewer a chance to revisit some of the most significant and moving moments of 2012, such as the Syrian conflict and the London Olympic Games. We outline the emotional coaster ride that we experienced while going through the exhibition and let the photographs do the story telling.

Of Fear: Interrogation, by Emin Özmen

A man suspected of giving money to government informants is held at a school occupied by the dissident Free Syrian Army. He was one of two captives who were held and interrogated before they were released. The ominous shadow holding the whip in this picture sent shivers down our back. What exactly brings out the worst in man?

Anger: Pepper Spray, by Ammar Awad

Pepper Spray shows Israeli border police officers using the weapon on a Palestinian protestor during clashes after Friday prayers on Land Day, outside Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City. This work undeniably enrages viewers – on what account could violence of this magnitude be justified?

Of Empathy: The Pink Choice, by Maika Elan

Vietnam has historically been unwelcoming to same-sex couples, but in 2012 the Vietnamese government announced it was considering recognizing same-sex marriage, a move that would make it the first Asian country to do so. However, polls showed that majority public opinion remained opposed to the idea. One cannot help but empathise with same-sex couples in a society with such deep-seated stigma against homosexuality.

Of Sadness: Migrant Sex Workers, by Paolo Patrizi

These series of photographs flesh out the issue of roadside prostitution conducted by migrant sex workers in Italy. Some of the women are victims of trafficking, deceived by criminal gangs into coming to the country. Others have willingly been smuggled in, but find prostitution the only way that they can earn enough money to send back to their families, or to pay back the thousands of euros they owe to smugglers.

Of Despair: Gaza Burial, by Paul Hansen

This photograph depicts the bodies of a two-year-old and his four-year-old elder brother, carried by their uncles to a mosque for their funeral in Gaza City. The children were killed when their house was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike on 19 November 2012. The strike also killed their father and severely injured their mother and four other siblings. How can one ever reconcile with the deaths of children and civilians, especially in war?

Of Hope: People of Mercy, by Stephan Vanfleteren

People of Mercy is a collection of portraits of patients receiving treatment on Africa Mercy, a hospital ship docked at Conakry, Guine. When one views this series of photographs one cannot help but feel the strength and undying hope reflected in the pictures, regardless of the patient’s conditions.

Of Joy: The Golden Touch, by Sergei Ilnitsky

Ilnisky took this set of photos at the Fencing event at the London 2012 Olympics. They pretty much epitomise the athletes’ pursuit for happiness and their resulting joy in succeeding is contagious. Going through World Press Photo Exhibition 2013 was an incredibly humbling experience and you are bound to walk away with a new found respect for photojournalists. We owe much of our understanding of the world and the human condition to their works.

For more information on World Press Photo Exhibition 2013, see the World Press Photo website here.

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