As of 4:22 PM EST, the World Press Photo competition has decided to disqualify Giovanni Troilo’s first-prize Contemporary Issues story. After we reported yesterday that a claim against one of Troilo’s winning images was taken outside of Charleroi, WPP opened an official investigation on the matter. After speaking with Troilo, they have confirmed that the photo which depicts a painter working with live models had been actually been taken in Molenbeek, Brussels. In a press release, WPP explained:
The saga of the World Press Photo competition just won’t quit. At about 3:30 PM EST time on March 3rd, photojournalist Bruno Stevens made an announcement on his private Facebook page claiming he has proof at least one of Giovanni Troilo’s winning photos was not taken in Charleroi, Belgium where the poignant documentary photo series was said to depict. Stevens took it upon himself to do some investigating into the matter. He claims to have spoke with one of the protagonists from the photo who told Stevens the photo was taken in Brussels, which is about 50km (30 miles) away from Charleroi.
The 58th running of World Press Photo competition has been shrouded by controversy to say the least. Along with the announcement of the winning photos, which we reported on in early February, organizers of the event also made it clear that a whopping 20% of the total entries were disqualified due to excessive post processing.
As Lars Boering, WPP Managing Director said in an official statement: “Our contest rules clearly state that the content of the image should not be altered. This year’s jury was very disappointed to discover how careless some photographers had been in post-processing their files for the contest. ” He continued by adding that the WPP plans to the work with the international photojournalistic community in efforts to better understand the reasoning behind the heavy handed editing trend so they can help to establish a new set of standards and guidelines for the photojournalism industry as a whole.
Just two weeks after World Press Photo’s announcement that 22% of entries that had reached the penultimate round were disqualified due to excessive post processing, a Belgian politician claims a winning photoset should be disqualified due to its “serious distortion of reality”.
The mayor of Charleroi, where the winning photos of the “Contemporary Issues Stories” category were taken, justified his request to have the award withdrawn saying that the photos hurt not only the people of Charleroi but also the profession of photojournalism.
World Press Photo is currently verifying the facts behind the photos of Italian winner, Giovanni Troilo.