By Handan Kazanci
ISTANBUL (AA) – With the deadline to apply to Anadolu Agency’s prestigious Istanbul Photo Awards looming, a veteran war photographer and former jury member had some advice on the importance of editing photos, and other words of wisdom from his decades in the field.
“When you send pictures for a prize, the editing is the main part,” Patrick Chauvel told Anadolu Agency, Turkey’s premier news source.
“Good pictures and bad editing will kill the story!”
The international news photo contest will accept applications until Feb. 15 at midnight local time (2100GMT). 2020 marks the sixth year of the contest, which is open to professional photographers worldwide.
The Istanbul Photo Awards is organized by Anadolu Agency, which has worked with scores of distinguished photojournalists throughout its 100-year history and aims to continue supporting the profession of photojournalism.
This year, dedicated photog Chauvel also submitted pictures for the prize, citing, in particular, a major international conflict next to Turkey’s southern borders: “I think that the story in Syria is powerful and needs to be shown by all means possible!”
“And I like the idea of going to Istanbul,” the 70-year-old photographer added.
Chauvel said his tenure on the jury of the 2015 Istanbul Photo Awards was time well spent, explaining: “It gave me the opportunity to see the work of very good photographers, and that inspired me for my future assignments.”
Born in France, Chauvel took up the lens at an early age, and over his professional life has witnessed more than 20 conflicts, including the 1967 Six-Day War between Arab countries and Israel, as well as the Vietnam War, plus the Bosnian War in the 1990s.
Chauvel, who has also written several books and appeared in documentaries, has not escaped the hazards of his profession, as in 1989, when he was seriously wounded during the U.S. invasion of Panama.
He is also a decorated journalist, having received the World Press Photo Prize in 1995, among other honors.
- ‘I finance all my stories’
After decades of braving the frontlines for the perfect shot, now the seasoned photographer is pessimistic about the future of his profession.
“The future of my line of work is very bleak,” he said.
“Nobody wants to pay or take the responsibility to send us, there are very few opportunities.”
“I finance all my stories and sell them afterward,” he added.
Chauvel explained what makes a picture worthy of a prize:
“Photographers who get the prize are, if not the best, they surely are the ones that got the most significant story and knew how to tell it in a few strong images.”
But the award-winning photographer criticized photojournalists who make winning prizes their “main motivation.”
“They forget why we do this job,” he said, namely “to meet people fighting, suffering, and tell their stories so people that live in a better world can understand what’s happening and maybe help.”
“Prizes are good to think about. But after the story,” Chauvel added.
“If you win, it's like having another opportunity to tell the story again and again, but only after you did your work,” he said. “Money and publicity help you go on, but it’s a fragile balance.”
According to Chauvel, this year’s contest will see photos of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq as well ones spotlighting climate change, as these are main topics tackled in this year’s awards.
For the banner contest, photographers from across the world are expected to submit images capturing global events from over the past year. Mainly focusing on news and sports photos, the contest has four categories: Single News, Story News, Single Sports, and Story Sports.
In March, an international jury will meet to select the winners.
The winner of Photo of the Year in Single News category will be awarded $8,000, while winners in other categories will be given $5,000 for first prize, $3,000 for second prize, and $1,500 for third.
All previous winning photos can be seen at istanbulphotoawards.com, and professional photographers can apply for the 2020 contest on the same website.