About World Press Photo Exhibition

The heartbreaking image of a two-year old Honduran girl crying near the US-Mexico border, while her mother is being searched and detained, made headlines around the world as the face of President Donald Trump's ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy last year.

Taken by Getty photographer and Pulitzer Prize-winner John Moore, it won this year’s World Press Photo of the Year award.

John Moore_Getty Images

Crying Girl on the Border, the winner of World Press Photo of the Year 2019
© Getty Image
A two-year-old Honduran asylum seeker cries as her mother is searched and detained near the U.S.-Mexico border on June 12, 2018 in McAllen, Texas. They had rafted across the Rio Grande from Mexico and were detained by U.S. Border Patrol agents before being sent to a processing center. The following week the Trump administration, under pressure from the public and lawmakers, ended its contraversial policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. Although the child and her mother remained together, they were sent to a series of detention facilities before being released weeks later, pending a future asylum hearing.

The image is part of the traveling World Press Photo 2019 exhibition which has made its way to Japan, where it will be on display in Tokyo at TOP Museum until August 4. Afterwards, the exhibition travels to Osaka (August 6-15, at Habis Hall).

Celebrating the best in photojournalism, the exhibition is a reflection of the most talked about news events of the past year, featuring over 150 single images and photo stories captured by professional photographers from across the globe.


Documentary ‘Flint is a Place’, showing there’s more to this dysfunctional city in Michigan than meets the eye.
© Zackary Canepar
FEBRUARY 2016. Police cadets train for civil unrest at the Mott
Police Academy. It is only a 4 month academy and a handful of these cadets will be joining the Flint Police Department right after graduation. The 4 officers joining Flint PD are the first new officers the PD has had in over 3 years.

The first World Press Photo award, back in 1955, came about when members of the Dutch photojournalists’ union had the idea of turning a national competition into an international one. What began as a one-off event has been held almost every year since, with the winning pictures put together in a traveling exhibition. 

From these humble beginnings in The Netherlands with just a few hundred submissions, the event has flourished into what is widely regarded as the industry equivalent of the Oscars, with this year nearly 80,000 entries and 110 exhibitions in 45 countries, seen by over four million people.

The event in April in Amsterdam where the winners were announced, was a weeklong festival with a dynamic program of master classes, presentations, screenings, meet-ups and panel discussions.  

Shortly after, ADF had the chance to speak with managing director Lars Boering at the organization’s new premises at Amsterdam’s Westergasfabriek to get the bigger picture and find out how World Press Photo has evolved over the years.

“We are more than a contest,” he said, explaining how the World Press Photo Foundation plays an important role in bringing visual storytelling to places where media censorship is rife.

Using the Press Freedom Index as a compass, they are guided to destinations where they feel they can make an impact. This year’s plans include “mission-driven” exhibitions to El Salvador, Caracas and Baghdad, among others.

“We highlight the importance of freedom of speech, freedom of exchange of information and free flow of information. Our dream is to touch every country of the world – whether it’s with the exhibition or an activity, or just by being there.”

The Last Generation_FRONTLINE_The GroundTruth Project

Documentary ‘The Last Generation’ about The Marshall Islands where inhabitants face losing not just their homes but their entire nation to rising seas as a result of climate change.

Social Enterprise

With a small, highly dedicated team of around 30 people at the Amsterdam headquarters and a large number of international volunteers in locations around the world, the organization has managed to put together an impressive roster of photojournalism-related exhibitions, activities and initiatives. 

World Press Photo Foundation is primarily funded by its own activities, accounting for about 60 percent of its revenue. There are corporate partnerships – in Holland PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Dutch Postcode Lottery are major sponsors this year, while the exhibitions in Tokyo and Osaka are supported by Canon Marketing Japan Inc and Getty Images.

The organization also receives funding from private donors and family foundations, as well as support from embassies, museums and art institutions. Combined with revenue derived from renting out the exhibition worldwide and other activities like the sales of the World Press Photo yearbooks, Mr Boering estimated current annual turnover to be between 3.5 and 5 million euros.

“We are a non-profit social enterprise and aggregate as much money as we can to spend it on creating impact,” Mr Boering said. 

The social impact is on multiple levels. Just by announcing the winners alone, the organization has a potential global reach of 4.3 billion views through all the media coverage that is generated as a result of the exhibition and the organization’s many other activities, “meaning all these people get touched by stories that matter".

At a time when journalism including photojournalism is under pressure, he said, “it is important to offer them [journalists and photographers] a platform because at the end of the day, they are preserving a piece of history as well as shaping the way news and photojournalism are reported.”


Lars Boering, Managing Director of World Press Photo Foundation
© Rahi Rezvani

World Press Photo Exhibition 2019 Info

Period:8 June to 4 August 2019
Venue:TOP Museum, Yebisu Garden Place, Tokyo
Admission:¥800 (yen)
Period:6 to 15 August 2019
Venue:Habis Hall, Habis OSAKA B2F, Osaka
Admission:¥700 (yen)