29 Aug 2019

Time 3 minutes

World Press Photo Montreal: photography is a necessary and modern art form

World Press Photo Montreal: photography is a necessary and modern art form

In the Old-Montreal, the back-to-school season also means the return of the popular and impressive exhibition of the World Press Photo Montreal. Every year, about 50,000 people come to see the best of photojournalism with 150 pictures that showcase the hot topics of the year, and make us think or smile. Yes, smile. Because there are not only pictures that are hard to look at. “Of course, the harshness of some pictures can haunt us and also leave a vivid impression in our mind, but there’s beauty in that as well. Some pictures give us hope.” explains Matthieu Rytz, the producer of the exhibition taking place at the Bonsecours Market.

A beautiful balance rules at the WPP since some of the eight photography categories, such as Portrait, Nature and Sport, counterweight the sometimes darker side of this international exhibition. The photos of Monia Chokri, the spokesperson that we met at the Bonsecours Market, are an example of photos that offer a more lighthearted theme while still being striking. Her series of portraits, that she describes as “intimate”, depict people that she knows well. It’s a great opportunity to discover a new side of this talented artist.

Last year, the WPP came out with a new way to hang pictures on the wall and bring them to light. The pictures are hanged and the absence of rigid frames on the ground makes the exhibition more immersive and easier to navigate. Besides, the producer mentioned that these modifications made “a better experience for the visitors”. This “wow effect” that he described, clearly pleased the public of Montreal; When it comes to the audience, 2018 was a top year since they had more than 55,000 visitors. The spokesperson is very happy with this “perfect lighting” that results from a great investment made last year, and she explains that the big size of the pictures and the light allow us to perceive the grain of the photo and better immerse ourselves in the feeling induced by these pictures.

“The ‘man-size experience’ of this exhibition sparks strong emotions and allows a real contact with the art. It’s completely different from experiencing it from the screen of a smartphone for example. The colours are more vivid. More deepened.”

According to Monia Chokri, the physical experience also allows “real contact with other people. The emotions felt by others are contagious. Just like laughter at the cinema can be communicative, here, we have this little something that just brings everyone together and makes the experience more intense. And in 2019, it’s also a beautiful way to spend more time with other people.”

Reconnect with others and take the time. Take the time to “stop, look at the picture. With social media, the flow of information that we receive is constant. Everything goes so fast. We have lost this special relationship with images.” said Matthieu Rytz. “The Word Press Photo forces us to work on our memory, to remember the events that left an impression in the news and on our daily lives.”

© John Moore-Getty

Seeing the exhibition at the Bonsecours Market is the perfect opportunity to take a break and “review the year that just passed by”, but it’s also a good way to reconnect with the beauty of the world again and discover some unusual situations such as the rising of the fashion industry in Dakar!

photo by Finbarr O'Reilly

For more information: World Press Photo Montreal 2019