GRAND PHOTOJOURNALISM IN COIMBRA The world of photography met once again in Coimbra in July 2020 with the city hosting eight major exhibitions of the most pressing actuality, as well as the photojournalism prize awards and other initiatives. AWARD ESTAÇÃO IMAGEM 2020 COIMBRA returned to Coimbra for the third consecutive year. This year’s edition was particularly unique. Not least given the constraints around public health safety, but also the added meaning and joy of being part of the city’s cultural reawakening from its venues and communities.
A major highlight to the first ever showcase of SOS CLIMA at Sala da Cidade. Global in scope, this exhibition puts a lens on the planet’s environmental emergency and the impacts of climate change. It brings together a spectrum of reporting across five international news agencies. Hitherto unprecedented sharing including, Agence France-Press, The Associated Press, European Pressphoto Agency, Getty Images, and Reuters lent all these images to Estação Imagem, the overall curator of the exhibition that will be open to public viewing until late September.
Also of pressing actuality, the HONG KONG: FIGHT FOR FREEDOM by Felipe Dana (The Associated Press) documenting the recent protests in that Chinese territory, and also Ivor Prickett’s END OF THE CALIPHATE, an exclusive report for The New York Times on the fight to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The city is also showcasing WILDLIFE RANGERS by Brent Stirton. A long time photojournalist documenting the relation between humans and the natural environment, Stirton is a regular contributor to Human Rights Watch and other NGOs, and the Gates, Clinton and Ford Foundations.
Opening on July 5th, THE CARAVAN by Guillermo Arias, winner of the Visa d’Or 2019 with his work on the mass migration from Central America to the U.S.A; Patrick Chauvel’s FAVELAS CLAMPDOWNS, a report about the raids of the Brazilian police in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro; BECKON US FROM HOME by Sarah Blesener, on the militarisation of youth in the U.S.A. and Russia; and INLAND by Ana Brígida, winner of the GRANT ESTAÇÃO IMAGEM 2019 COIMBRA.
Apart from Sala da Cidade, the exhibitions can be seen at a number of venues including Convento São Francisco, Edifício Chiado, Casa Municipal da Cultura, Mosteiro de Santa Clara-a-Velha, and Centro Cultural Penedo da Saudade.
Meeting in online platforms only, the jury of this year’s edition was chaired by PATRICK CHAUVEL, the oldest active war reporter with a career spanning more than 20 armed conflicts worldwide. And the other jury members: BRENT STIRTON (seven World Press Photo award winner along with six Lucie prizes, winner of the Visa d’Or, and two U.N. special awards), FELIPE DANA (photojournalist at the Associated Press and Pulitzer finalist in 2017, 2018, 2019), and also JOÃO SILVA (a The New York Times reporter and member of The Bang Bang Club, the South African group who documented the end of apartheid.)
Online platforms were also used for the open classes on editing and photojournalism and led by FRANCIS KOHN (Agence France-Presse’s ex-head of photography), ILVY NJIOKIKTJIEN (Canon ambassador), and jury members JOÃO SILVA, BRENT STIRTON, and FELIPE DANA. ANA BRÍGIDA (photojournalist) delivered a talk on project setup and the working methods of GRANT ESTAÇÃO IMAGEM.
The ceremony of AWARD ESTAÇÃO IMAGEM 2020 COIMBRA took place on July 18th in the grand auditorium at Convent of São Francisco, followed by a conference by the jury chair, Patrick Chauvel. All the award-winning reports coming out of the Prize’s 11th edition can be seen in a nal exhibition at Convento do Espírito Santo Art Gallery, Loulé, Algarve, from the 7th of August until September 12th.
Lastly, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city council executive approved an exceptional support line aimed at cultural associations whose programmed activities did not come to fruition as planned, as was also the case of Estação Imagem. The Coimbra City Council underlines that the proposal factored in how the pandemic’s exceptional circumstances affected the “world of culture” negatively, with many of the activities “postponed, cancelled or adapted to a new reality”. Many of the cultural associations “incurred in prior expenses for the development of initiatives eventually cancelled or taking place in conditions different from what was planned”. To tackle this situation, the executive decided to update the terms of municipal financing in order to support these associations so that they have a stable backing to continue the good work.