Placing documentary photography in an exhibition setting may be tricky. Where’s the line between artistic and realistic? Does the location take away from the importance of the subjects? How does one look at disturbing images of reality? World Press Photo has been exploring these questions for the past 51 years with a purpose of representing photojournalism and its subjects on a much larger scale. This yearly competition is an opportunity to (re)see the images that told stories of the most important moments happening around the world. Instead of being squeezed in between paragraphs and subheads, the images are the heroes - blown out on big canvases and organised in categories including People, Contemporary Issues, Daily Life, Sports and Nature. Here are five compelling photographs you mustn’t miss at this year’s show.


2015 NCAA Tournament by Greg Nelson 

Although photographing a basketball match can sometimes seem like a monotonous task, this bird’s eye view photograph breaths in a new dimension into the 48 minutes of tall men shooting hoops.


Lost Family Portraits by Dario Mitidieri 

Originally commissioned as an advertisement for a refugee charity, Mitidieri captured families with empty places symbolising the missing family members making a perfect example of where advertisement can be just as powerful as art.

Exposure by Kazuma Obara 

Experimenting with techniques, Obara photographed images related to the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe with a film found at the location of the radiation. Both symbolically and visually, the end result embodies the spirit of the hollowness of Pripyat in the 1970s.

Into the Light by Zohreh Saberi 

When a single photograph exudes the amount of warmth and energy worth a moving image, there must be something really great about it. Raheleh (the girl in the image) is blind, yet captured bathed in sun, all of her senses experiencing the moment.

La Maya Tradition by Daniel Ochoa de Olza 

Absurdity and decadence scream from this image of a young girl sitting at the altar dressed up for a traditional ritual of the Feast of Las Mayas, on the outskirts of Madrid. Part of a series of photographs, this image captivates at first glance, showing how out of place a serious face looks in a celebratory tone.

World Press Photo 2016 is on show until November 29 at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, Lambeth, London SE1 8XX.