Pictures of the Year, International – at the Annenberg Space for Photography

Pictures of the Year, International – at the Annenberg Space for Photography

Sugar cane worker: © Katie Falkenberg

Pictures of the Year, International (aka POYi), is the second exhibition of the new Annenberg Space for Photography. This current exhibit, subtitled Visions of Excellence, features the winning images from POYi, the oldest and most prestigious photojournalism competition in the world, now in its 66th year.

Chosen from over 45,000 entries from photographers from dozens of countries, the print and digital exhibit of photographs examine thought-provoking issues ranging from global conflicts to human rights atrocities to triumphs in the spheres of politics and sports.

On display are the award-winning works from photographers Uriel Sinai, Magazine Photographer of the Year; Tim Hussin, College Photographer of the Year; Seth Gitner, Documentary Project of the Year; amongst others.

One striking photo is by Emilio Morenatti, the Associated Press photographer who was awarded the prize for Newspaper Photographer of the Year. With his camera, he unflinchingly examines the disfigured faces of women who have suffered unspeakable domestic abuse in their homeland of Pakistan. On the gallery wall is a large photo of 26-year-old Saira Liaqat, her face permanently altered by an acid attack from her husband. She holds a photo of her former, youthful self and the contrast between the two visages – one exquisitely beautiful, the other indescribably scarred – is truly heartbreaking. But it isn”™t until you view the Annenberg”™s digital presentation of his other photos that you see the faces of several more women, also irreparably maimed by acid attacks from their fellow countrymen. It”™s sobering stuff.

Kenyan man lays on the ground: ©Uriel Sinai

Many of the photographers use their art to bring the world”™s attention to war-torn countries such as Uriel Sinai and Walter Astrada”™s photos of Kenya and Nairobi, respectively, putting a human face on misery and hardship. Others, such as David Guttenfelder, focus on the war in Afghanistan and highlight the plight of victims of natural disasters, such as those who struggle to survive last year”™s Sichuan Earthquake in China.

But many of these striking images are joyous as well, such as Robert Gauthier”™s exuberant photo “Wave of Emotion” that captures the moment of Michael Phelps”™ narrow Olympic victory for the Men”™s 100m Butterfly race last year in Bejing. Brian Skerry”™s underwater photo for National Geographic documents a massive whale”™s first encounter with a human deep sea diver.

After 65 years of being based at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, POYi has now moved to Los Angeles, where for the first time, the images will be on display for several months rather than just a few days.

Surrounded by the glass and steel skyscrapers of Century City, Los Angeles, the Annenberg Space for Photography is a 10,000 square foot facility built on the site of the Shubert Theater. Featuring a state-of-the-art digital projection gallery along with a traditional print exhibit area, the combination of these galleries will enable the Annenberg Space for Photography to show an unprecedented number of images to the general public in a dynamic environment.

The Annenberg Foundation
is one of the largest private family-based philanthropic foundations in the United States. Their new community space is modern and airy in design, with an interior that was “influenced by the mechanics of a camera.” Unfortunately, however, some of the displays are marred by poor lighting and an excess of sunlight reflection.

In addition to being a cultural experience that celebrates photography as an art form, the Photography Space will present images focused on the human condition as an expression of the philanthropic work of the Foundation and its Trustees. Work by photographers at all levels of expertise from around the world will be featured. The galleries will also exhibit often unseen photographic collections held by museums, galleries and media organizations.

Pictures of the Year, International – Visions of Excellence
exhibition will run until November 1st, 2009.

General admission to the Annenberg Space for Photography is free.

Validated self-parking is $3.50 for three hours in the garage directly beneath the building, while on weekdays after 4:30PM and on Saturday and Sunday, parking is a flat rate of $1.00 with validation.

Open: Wednesdays – Sundays, 11am – 6pm

The Annenberg Space for Photography
2000 Avenue of the Stars, Century City, CA. 90067
Tel: 213.403.3000

— review by  Pauline Adamek

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Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.



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