Hard to forget images at WestLicht Gallery

This weekend (which luckily is a long one) is your last chance to see the World Press Photo exhibition at WestLicht gallery.  The WestLicht Gallery is a non-profit association that puts on great photography shows.   Now for the 17th year it is hosting the World Press Photo exhibition.   On view are award-winning  images related to current events.  They capture scenes from politics, society, sports and – my favourite – nature.

Some of these photos are not easy to look at, especially if you read the subtext.  This is not an exhibition that shows only a beautiful world – though some photos certainly are beautiful in the classic sense (for me, especially the nature ones).  It is not a just world we live in, and this is aptly shown in press photos.  Burning people, mountains of garbage, mothers who iron the breasts of their daughters flat to prevent them from “maturing” – those are some of the images that stayed with me unpleasantly.   But there are also the flying flamingoes and the hopping penguins, and the two girls in Waldviertel that put a smile on my face.

Westlicht - World Press Photo 2018
Neil Aldrige (South Africa) won first prize in the Environment category for his photo of a young white rhino shortly before its release in the Okavango delta after relocation from South Africa. Rhinos are severely threatened by poaching.
Jumping rock penguins by Thomas P. Peschak (Germany) won 2nd prize in the Nature category.

The World Press Photo Foundation was formed in 1955 as a platform for photo journalism.  Winning its global award is a great honour for press photographers. Selecting winning photos must  be no easy feat for the jury:   It had to review more than 73,000 photos by 4,548 candidates from 125 different countries.

This year the Foundation awarded prizes for a new category:  Environment.  Given the many environmetal problems and catastrophes we humans are wreaking on our planet, I am certainly glad they have added this theme.  

Daniel Beltrá (Spain) has documented the deforestation in Brazil due to mining, agriculture and the construction of hydropower plants, but also a flock of red ibis flying over flooded lands.
Md Masfiqur Akhtar Sohan (Bangladesh) won third prize in the Reports category for his photo of Rohingya refugees in an emergeny camp at Cox´s Bazar, looking at burning houses across the border to Myanmar.



A series by Italian photographer Fausto Podavini about the changing culture and environment around the Omo-river in Ethiopia, where large scale investments are changing the balance of human-nature interaction.

So as you can see from the glimpses above, this is an awe-inspiring exhibition to go see.  Prepare for crowds though.  I was warned by “the Kanzler” (who has a great photo gallery on Instagram) that it gets crowded towards the end.  I missed the instawalk with Igersaustria.at, but luckily made it in good time in early October.  Still, I think it is worth braving the crowds.

Ich bin Waldviertel. Carla Kogelman (Netherlands) won first prize for her long-term report on the sisters Hannah and Alena, who are living in Merkenbrechts, a bio-energy village of about 170 inhabitants in a rural part of Austria.

A must-see for photo buffs, and all others who want to have their eyes opened through stunning images – images really sometimes do speak louder than words (but it helps to have the subtext for explanation).  I´m glad I went.

Lucky me, by the way, I have the exhibition right at home now too, as my dear son gave me the exhibition book for my birthday.  Thank you, Nico, very thoughtful of you!


(Sources: WestLicht Gallery website, exhibition book)

More info

World Press Photo 2018 at Westlicht Gallery

Opening hours
daily 11 am–9 pm

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