In today’s world, everyone is taking pictures of pretty much anything. From selfies to pictures of food, photography is now anchored to the way we live. This overuse of photography changed the way we approach the once almost sacred act of taking a photo. Nowadays, it is merely a way of sharing something with someone as easily as possible. Even if it can be seen as a great technological and social change in the way we interact with each other, this democratization of photography also brought a certain level of mundanity and sometimes insignificance to photography. Luckily for this honorable art, people all around the world are still practicing photography as it was first intended: to show people the reality of others.
In this vein, the World Press Photo exhibition, which will be held in Montreal until Sept. 28, is a perfect place to see an array of talented photographers’ works, published in different publications across the globe. The World Press Photo nonprofit organization assembled a team of 19 judges this year to choose amongst a tremendous amount of pictures sent to them for the contest. The collection is being presented at the Marché Bonsecours, a beautiful building situated in the Old Port, giving viewers a chance to encounter countless stories in one room. From the horrors of the Syrian civil war to the profoundly touching tale of an Olympic athlete’s fight with cancer to beautifully captured moments showing the fragility of Mother Nature, the exhibition has something for everyone. It is true that some people may be disturbed by some of the pictures showcased at the exhibit. For example, a selection of photos showing an American veteran that lost most of his facial structure in an explosion may cause some discomfort. Still, the idea of the exhibit is to show to the world what others are facing, and cause them to reflect on what they have witnessed. Sometimes, the photos show stories of survival and can even inspire its viewers: in the previous example, the badly scarred war veteran is now helping people that need help coping with such disabilities, and has become a well-known figure in the world of comedy.
It is possible to judge the quality and the importance of the World Press Photo exhibition by the effect that it has on the people witnessing it. Most of us have become desensitized to the gruesome and depressing events happening all around the world shown on television or on the Internet. However, when set in front of a stunning giant picture of a family’s everyday life in a poverty-stricken society, we are bound to be moved in some way. This little je ne sais quoi that emanates from those pictures may give you the chills, make you smile or simply make you wonder. In all cases, the World Press Photo exhibition will not let you indifferent.
The World Press Photo exhibition will be taking place at Marché Bonsecours until Sept. 28.