Last year I had the privilege of being a judge at the 9th CHIPP Awards in the beautiful lake side city of Hangzhou in China’s eastern Zhejiang province. The China International Press Photo Contest is closely modelled on the World Press Photo contest and certainly has the prize money to match with the equivalent of USD16,000 prize for the overall winner. It was not just the lucrative purse that caused me to come home to Africa determined to encourage as many African photojournalists as I can to enter the competition. Here are my main two reasons:
Firstly, as a judge in last year’s competition I saw very few entries from Africa. That means there is a very significant open door of opportunity to bring to the competition material that is unique and different and will make the judges sit up and consider. As I said in my blog post in March 2014 immediately after the trip, “The categories I would encourage African photographers to aim for in particular are the “Arts, Culture & Entertainment News” and “Nature & Environment News” categories as the number of entries in these categories is smaller than in other categories and as Africans we can certainly perform in these categories.”
While I do want African photojournalists to walk away with significant prizes in the competition, and the more the merrier, my second reason for wanting you to enter the competition is that in China it is a huge deal… it really is. So winning this competition and the messages that are carried in the images that win go far and wide in that society. Africa is very much on China’s agenda in terms of geo-politics and what China thinks about social and environmental issues is already having a significant impact on us here in Africa. So here is a very significant opportunity to speak to a new power in the World about the issues that affect us as Africans. Can you imagine the impact on Chinese society if a story about the Rhino slaughter here in Africa won first prize in China?
So I would urge you to consider submitting work to this competition, both for yourself and for the platform it gives us as Africans to have our say in a society that is mad about photography and photojournalism.
It does not cost anything to enter and the closing date for entries is 15 February 2014.