February 13, 2015 2:18 pm
We can all agree on the fact that we are living in the era of images. Most of all the communication going on is based on images. This is why photography has become one of the new media forms that are changing both perception and society’s structure. Language has many shades and many different expressions, but what makes photography so special to me is its immediacy in delivering its message.
There are several prestigious photojournalism competitions going on every year: the World Press Photo contest is surely one of them, as it honors outstanding journalistic and documentary photography in several categories. This year’s winner as ‘Photo of the Year’ is Mads Nissen with his ‘Jon and Alex’.
‘Jon and Alex’ is a picture that is going to generate a lot of debates and arguments. It portraits a Russian gay couple sharing a moment of intimacy. What caught my eye, besides the technical value of the photo itself, it is the mere fact it was chosen as photo of a year – 2014 – which has been marked by so many cruel and strong images. From Ukraine to Gaza, Ferguson to West Africa, and from parts of the Middle East where militants associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria have shared gruesome images of decapitated hostages. Out of all the outrageous photos that framed our harmful world, ‘Jon and Alex’ stood up for its simplicity and its message of love.
This is why we chose ‘homophobia’ as our IATE term of the week.
Homophobia implies all the negative attitudes that can lead to rejection and to direct or indirect discrimination towards gay men, lesbians, bisexual, transsexual or transgender people, or toward anyone whose physical appearance or behaviour does not fit masculine or feminine stereotypes.
Life for lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGBT) people is becoming increasingly difficult in Russia. Sexual minorities face legal and social discrimination, harassment, and even violent hate-crime attacks from conservative religious and nationalistic groups.
This is why awarding this photo is going to mean a lot. It is going to send a message of love as a global issue, not just a homosexuality fact. As Pamela Chen, a member of this year’s World Press Photo jury and the editorial director of Instagram, said in a statement, ‘Jan and Alex’ has been crowned winner of this year competition for “it would matter tomorrow, not just today”. And we certainly agree on that.
By Sabina Grixoni
Editor and Social Media Strategist
Communication Trainee at TermCoord
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