World Press Photo celebrates its 50th anniversary. Jury member Swapan Parekh on the impact that World Press Photo has had in India.

News Photography in India

October 2005 -

Until very recently there were only traditional and dated Salon-style 'Photographic Societies' and some state-sponsored awards in India to which the average amateur photographer looked up to for recognition. Barring the works of a few self-made outstanding news photographers, news photography here in India has always been very lackluster. But this scenario is slowly but surely changing for the better.

The World Press Photo has given a much needed shot of adrenaline to Indian news photography. The effect can be seen as gradually more photographers of Indian origin are awarded by World Press Photo. The latest being this year’s ‘Photo of The Year’ winner Arko Dutta.

An increasing number of foreign photographers who covered Indian subjects have won at World Press Photo in recent years. This has encouraged many local photographers to believe “I can do it too”.

The respect and credibility that World Press Photo enjoys here in India can also be illustrated by the fact that over 20,000 visitors went to the annual exhibition this year. Another sign of the impact that World Press Photo has had in India is the fact that the Indian Press Photo Awards have adopted World Press Photo’s format for their competition.

In the shoot and delete culture of today, where history is recorded and erased daily, and where photographers can choose to retract facts at the push of a button, I hope The World Press Photo Foundation continues to be an inspiring platform for news photographers.

Swapan Parekh has been involved with the World Press Photo as a Masterclass student, a speaker at their educational programme, an awardee and recently as a jury member.