The Ultimate Portrait of Suffering


The World Press Photo organisation has been yearly awarding the most influential images in the world of photography since 1955, “connecting the world to the stories that matter” (as stated by their motto). 

Even though WPP counts more than 60 editions, a quick look at the archives is enough to grasp a year-on-year sense of continuity and similarity between the pictures.
A display of raw, violent, and unfiltered human suffering is what seems to be holding this institution together.

In this scenario, what is the power of the image? Will these pictures ever bring to an actual social change, or are they only serving the media’s thirst for the aestheticization of pain and violence?

Trying to establish where the line between responsible informing and pornography of violence lies, I collected over 500 images from the World Press Photo archive. All the images display death, violence, and suffering. 

This was my attempt to create the “Ultimate Portrait of Suffering” by merging these images together through machine learning.

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© 2021 By Marcel Top. 

Marcel Top Photography