Arts & CulturePress Release

Philippine leg of 2023 World Press Photo Exhibition highlights impactful visual storytelling

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — In its Philippine leg of the global exhibit, the 2023 World Press Photo Exhibition goes to Manila to showcase the works of the top photojournalists and documentary photographers who exposed the most pressing issues of the year 2022.

Among regional winners are two Filipinas: In her win in the long-term projects category, Kimberly dela Cruz’s chilling photographs confront the drug war in the Philippines in Death of a Nation from 2016 to 2022; meanwhile, capturing a comforting sense of care and community within an ageing LGBTQI+ group challenged by discrimination and socioeconomic hardships, Hannah Reyes Morales wins the regional award for the stories category for portraying warmth, joy, and dignity in Home for the Golden Gays.

Kimberly and Hannah are among the 24 regional winners chosen from over 60,000 entries submitted by 3,752 entrants from 127 countries. Six regional juries judged the entries, and all winners were selected by a global jury consisting of six regional juries and an international jury chair. The regional juries first chose a selection of entries per category in their regions, after which the global jury decided on the regional winners.


Maika Elan, photographer and photo editor, and 2023 Contest Southeast Asia and Oceania
jury chair
, said, “At the heart of our selection process was the desire to highlight stories that not only raised awareness of important issues but also provided solutions or a call to action. We sought strong and brave stories that, in the context of our countries, may have been difficult to execute or discuss openly.”

Further, she has this to say about the importance of Kimberly’s entry, specifically: “A […] crucial concern was the drug war in the Philippines, where extrajudicial killings and human rights violations are widespread. Photographs highlighted the human rights violations, and raised important questions about justice and accountability.”

Executive Director of the World Press Photo Foundation Joumana El Zein Khoury said, “Millions of people around the world will look at these photos and see death, despair, loss, and crisis. My wish is that they also see what I see. The hope that through documentation there is a chance of justice and a better future, through remembering we honor what is lost, and through the courage and dedication of these photographers we are inspired.”

DAKILA, this year’s World Press Photo Exhibition local partner in the Philippines, believes in the power of Press Freedom. “…to continue telling the truth amidst blatant censorship and attacks. [For] the Human Rights community to continue defending press freedom and community journalism in telling the truth on the key issues the country faces such as the drug war and gender discrimination,” Floyd Scott Tiogangco, DAKILA Communications Director, said in a statement.

The two Filipinas’ stories, alongside the other winners from the global and regional categories, will be shown in an exhibition at the World Press Photo Exhibition 2023 in Manila. The exhibit will run from February 26 to March 17 at The Gallery, 11th Floor, College of Saint Benilde, School of Design and Arts, Metro Manila.

Following the exhibit is a public forum on visual storytellers in narrative building and change-making on February 28 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at the 5th Floor Main Auditorium, School of Arts and Design, College of Saint Benilde. At the forefront of this forum are 2023 World Press Winners Hannah Reyes Morales, Kimberly dela Cruz, photographer Ezra Acayan, representatives from the Golden Gays, and families of drug war victims.

These events are made possible in partnership with DAKILA, College of Saint Benilde-Design and Arts Campus, and the support from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Philippines.

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