Passend zur Bekanntgabe des Weltpressefotos 2015 gibt uns Joyce Lagerweij, Repräsentantin der World Press Photo Foundation und mit Kollegin Tessa Hetharia am Aufbau der WPP Oldenburg beteiligt, spannende Einblicke, wie die zweiwöchige Jury-Sitzung abläuft:

Judging takes place in two weeks time in a room that is kept dark and cold – to ensure perfect concentration from all jury members. They see the pictures anonymously. The pictures are coded and jury members might write down the codes of photographers they like to request their name after the contest has ended. If the judges recognise a picture they have a professional relation to, they have to state a conflict of interest or risk being removed from the jury. After the first round, voting also becomes anonymous.

Close to 100,000 photos are submitted by thousands of photographers from over 125 countries. These are split up in categories and first seen by specialized juries who take 3 or 4 rounds to narrow this bulk down to 5%. The chairs of the specialized juries then form a new group – the general jury – which decides on the final winners for each category and the Picture of The Year. The judges’ discussion on the aesthetic and journalistic merit of pictures gets more interesting and tense with each round when the judges start losing some of their favourite images to the group consensus. Positive and negative voting (voting ‘in’ or ‚out’) are alternated to shed the final images that will not win a World Press Photo Award.

World Press Photo-Mitarbeiterin Joyce Lagerweij

The chairs are there to guide and stimulate debate. Independent secretaries ensure a fair process. Each secretary is supported by a jury coordinator, a staff member of World Press Photo and the principal conduit of information between the jury and the foundation on all procedural matters related to the judging. Other World Press Photo staff members project the images, read the pictures’ captions to the judges and keep a double administration to make sure everything the jury decides is documented. Select members of World Press Photos partners and supporters quietly move in and out of the room to witness the process.

When the jury gets down to the penultimate round, the photographers are contacted to submit the original RAW files of their pictures and two experts compare these with the pictures entered in the contest to ensure nothing in the picture has been obscured or removed – which would lead to disqualification. Since 2016, a team of Der Spiegel fact checks the photo captions and examines the metadata in the picture files.

The entire jury process is immensely precise. We do this because we only want to award the very best visual journalism and to present an exhibition of wonderful and powerful imagery to a global audience that can trust what they see.

Text: Joyce Lagerweij, Project Manager Education