World Press Photo Controversy Follow Up

By Jim Colton

In the wake of the decision by World Press Photo to revoke the award for photographer Giovanni Troilo’s work, I am imploring those in our industry to not turn this series of events into a “witch hunt.”  In the humble opinion of this photo editor, matters were (mostly) handled in a professional manner. Questions were asked…and answers were obtained…and then a measured and qualified decision was made on the part of World Press Photo.

As I stated in my original blog, the “Charleroi” story contained some fine images. They were just entered and awarded in the wrong category of a photography contest….period. We cannot, and should not place the blame on the photographer who entered them in the category he thought best….nor World Press Photo who judged them in that category, as they are charged to do.

There is merit in the kind of photography that Giovanni Troilo does. And there is a need and a home for that style of work. What occurred was an unfortunate set of circumstances regarding category definitions…which I am sure will be better defined in the future  in light of these recent events.

I also applaud many of my brethren in the industry for stepping up and asking questions. Please don’t think of us as “photo police,’ but rather concerned journalists who value truth in photojournalism during these very tenuous times.

I will continue to look to World Press Photo to provide us with outstanding images in the future worthy of meritorious recognition. It is organizations like World Press Photo that are our beacons of light. And I for one, wish Giovanni Troilo continued success in his chosen profession. Let us not turn him into a pariah or a scapegoat. He is neither.

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