World Press Photo Revokes Award for Giovanni Troilo

A jury for the World Press Photo contest announced earlier this week that they decided to revoke the first place award of an Italian photographer for misrepresentation of one of the images in his series of photos.

The organization based out of Amsterdam, announced the disqualification for the 10-photo series on the underbelly of a struggling town in Belgium, shot by Giovanni Troilo.

The photo in question depicts Troilo’s cousin having sex with a woman in the back of his car. Troilo used a flash inside of the car to highlight the movement within the car and create a contrast with the dark surroundings of the night. However, critics argued that Troilo’s use of a remote-controlled flash violated the rules of the contest because they felt as though it was staged, and more reminiscent of art instead of photojournalism.

“The World Press Photo Contest must be based on trust in the photographers who enter their work and in their professional ethics,” said Lars Boering, the managing director of World Press Photo, during a statement earlier this week. “We now have a clear case of misleading information an this changes the way the story is perceived. A rule has now been broken, and a line has been crossed.”

The decision came just a day after leading photo festival, Visa Pour L’Image, stated publically that they would not show any World Press Photos this year to protest what they, and many, considered to be a staged photo by Troilo. To the photojournalism community, a staged photo is not considered journalism—a rhetoric that The New York Times shares in their photo classification. Staged photos are strictly prohibited for any photojournalism stories.

The other photos in the series, La Villa Noire – The Dark Heart of Europe, depict a depressing scenes throughout Charleroi, Belgium, which can be found on his personal website.

Troilo expressed his sadness at losing the award during an interview with The New York Times, stating that ‘the controversy began when the World Press Photo rewrote the original captions for his photos,’ which led people to believe that he was being deceptive about how his photos were taken. He continued to say that he felt as though the organization was looking for “an exit strategy, and that the whole thing “seems a big injustice.”

With Troilo disqualified, the first place prize was awarded to Giulio Di Sturco, and the second prize went to Tomas van Houtryve. The third place will go unclaimed.

Follow Sean on Twitter @BuffaloFlynn.

About Sean Flynn

Sean Flynn is a recent graduate from City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. His work has appeared in The Buffalo News, Condé Nast Traveler, The New York Times 'Fort Greene Local', The Daily Meal, and
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