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Time Magazine/Afghan Girl Photo Wins 2010 World Press Award

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Deeper_Background, Feb 11, 2011.

  1. Deeper_Background

    Deeper_Background Active Member

    AMSTERDAM — A South African photographer's portrait of an Afghan woman whose husband sliced off her nose and ears in a case of Taliban-administered Sharia Law justice won the World Press Photo award for 2010, one of the industry's most coveted prizes.

    Jodi Bieber's posed picture, which contrasts the woman's arresting beauty with the violence done to her after she fled an abusive marriage, was published on the cover of Time magazine on Aug. 1. [​IMG]

    Bieber, 44, a winner of eight previous World Press Photo awards since 1998, is a freelance photojournalist affiliated with the Institute for Artist Management/Goodman Gallery. She has published two books on her native South Africa.

    Jury members said the photo, though shocking, was chosen because it addresses violence against women with a dignified image. The woman, 18-year-old Bibi Aisha, was rescued by the U.S. military and now lives in America.

    "This could become one of those pictures – and we have maybe just 10 in our lifetime – where if somebody says 'you know, that picture of a girl' – you know exactly which one they're talking about," said jury chairman David Burnett of Contact Press.

    The picture also evokes the iconic 1984 National Geographic photograph of a beautiful young Afghan woman with a piercing gaze.

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  2. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    Interesting. Does anyone think this photo took much talent to take?

    The photo is very sad. But it is not a great photo.
  3. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Doesn't hold a candle to the National Geographic photo of the Afghan woman, imo, I can see that in my mind's eye as clear as day. Truly piercing gaze. I agree, this isn't a great photo per se.
  4. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    I think it sends a powerful message...I remember this cover vividly...a perfect choice for the magazine and I think the award honors the photographers ability to find a perfect image to convey this type of violence that is so impossible to comprehend in our society.
  5. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member


    I agree, in this age of digital photography, with so many more images captured, there should be better than this.
  6. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    The photo was clearly taken in a studio. The photographer didn't "find" the image. Time sat the girl down on a stool and they took a picture.

    I'll be blunt: This a perfect example of a politically liberal body - which I'm sure they are - rewarding the "story" of the photo more than the quality of the photo. It's like saying "a picture is worth a 1,000 words, but some extra words just to tell you how much the picture is really worth can never hurt."
  7. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    I can understand the argument that there may be/probably are better photos, per se -- the one of the Tibetan monks and the mass cremation, and the one of the severed head of the drug-war victim that are among those linked spring immediately to my mind (my God, the things people do to each other; it's disgraceful -- and the Afghan girl's photo certainly fits into that category, too, of course).

    That said, Alma, you've actually made exactly the point that is the reason that girl's portrait won.

    The best photojournalism tells a story, powerfully, quickly and easily. In the best ones, the story is obvious and easy to read, with virtually no caption or specifics even needed for retention and understanding of the message. It's meant to be narrative journalism (in photos) without even really needing the "narrative" part -- or any digital manipulation, either.

    You look at it, you gulp, and you know exactly why you do it. It's like this one from the previous year that ran in the Detroit News:


    The emphasis of the award is, rightfully, on the "journalism," not the "photography" part.
  8. PeterGibbons

    PeterGibbons Member

    World Press has a tendency to award some really odd picks. I like the photo but wouldn't call it a winner. However, this is the same competition to award a guy who took photos of his computer screen http://www.worldpressphoto.org/index.php?option=com_photogallery&task=view&id=2099&Itemid=292&bandwidth=high my bosses always told me the best photos are made outside the office, according to World Press, obviously not!
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