POYi, the Best Show-and-Tell of the Year

The bust of Donald W. Reynolds is displayed in the Reynolds Journalism Institute at MU.

Last week, Pictures of the Year International completed its slate of winners for 2013, marking its 70th annual competition. POYi, “the oldest and most prestigious photojournalism program in the world,” is sponsored by the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

Below is a list of 14 winning photo collections that offer a great show-and-tell of global and cross-cultural issues. There’s a lot here, but it’s still only a small part of this year’s entire POYi gallery. It’s well worth your time to settle down with a cup (or a pot) of coffee and click through all the winners, including the work of Paul Hansen, who was awarded Photographer of the Year honors in the newspaper division. Earlier in February, Hansen’s “Gaza Burial,” was named World Press Photo of the Year.

If, after looking at these photos, you’re inspired to try the challenging life of an international photojournalist yourself, watch the video at the end of this post. It’s Ed Kashi’s Photojournalisms, the third-place multimedia documentary winner. A companion to his book Witness #8: Photojournalisms, the short video was made from a compilation of Kashi’s photos and nearly 20 year of journal entries and emails addressed to his wife. “Home for me,” he writes, “has always been a shifting term, with shifting people and shifting objects vying for my attention.”

Here, in no particular order, are some of the people and objects that caught the attention of some very talented and dedicated photographers in 2012:

Life without Lights, Peter DiCampo
+++1.5 billion people around the globe don’t have access to electricity.

The Siege of Aleppo, Javier Manzano (includes graphic images of war)
+++The U.N. recently reported that nearly 70,000 have died in Syria’s civil war.

Beyond 7 Billion, Rick Loomis, et al.
+++“The biggest generation in history is just entering its childbearing years.”

North Korea—Collectivism, Vincent Yu
+++While the majority of North Koreans suffer, the government presents a “glossy” image to the world.

Water Is Personal, Brent Stirton
+++Drought, floods, and lack of clean water affect people all over the world.

A Long Walk, Shannon Jensen
+++These are the shoes of refugees who fled northern Sudan.

Paris Suburbs, Arnau Bach
+++Poverty and drug trafficking are prevalent in the neighborhoods surrounding Paris.

Dark Isolation, Tokyo, Salvi Danés Vernedas
+++“It is easy to find oneself isolated and alone among a crowd.”

Labor Movement, Alejandro Cargagena
+++From an overpass above a highway in Monterrey, Mexico, one can see laborers traveling to work in the open beds of pickup trucks.

Uncounted Casualties, Jay Janner
+++“They survived the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. But they did not survive the homecoming.”

In the Devil’s Footsteps, Tyler Anderson
+++The people of Northern Uganda try to recover from the devastation left by Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army.

Buzkashi, Casper Hedberg
+++North of Kabul, thousands gather to watch Afghanistan’s national sport in which men on horseback fight over an animal carcass.

Zone of Absolute Discomfort, Justin Jin
+++Few people live in the frozen tundra of the Russian Arctic.

Fukushima: Taking Back a Nuclear No-Man’s Land, James Whitlow Delano
+++Japan’s 2011 nuclear disaster left “a vast network of nuclear ghost towns” waiting to be reclaimed.

[photo: “Reynolds Statue, Reynolds Journalism Institute,” by moohappy, used under a Creative Commons license]


Powerful Images from Pictures of the Year International

I never remember when the selections are made, but sometime each year I track down the POYi (Pictures of the Year International) website, set aside some time, and click my way through hundreds of outstanding photos from around the world. This year, I wasn’t too far off, as the awards for 2011 were handed out in February. The Winners’ Gallery is a front door to links for all the winning photos and collections. Or if you’d like a few side doors, below are just some of the collections that focus on global and cross-cultural topics.

And for those of you who figure that the Pulitzer Prize winners are the best of the best, they’re in the POYi collection, too. Just announced yesterday, the Pulitzer for Breaking News Photography went to Massoud Hossaini, for his heartbreaking photo “Kabul Bombing,” and the award for Feature Photography went to Craig F. Walker, for “Welcome Home: The Story of Scott Ostrom,” which tells the story of an Iraq war veteran with PTSD who has returned to the States.

There’s so much at POYi to see. Not only does it take a while to wander around the links and look at the photos, there’s plenty of descriptive text, and then sometimes you just have to take some time to let the images sink in. Powerful images. Poignant images. And sometimes shocking images (so viewer discretion is advised).

Here are those side doors:

[photo: “Behind the Enemy Lines,” by Mauricio Ulloa, used under a Creative Commons license]