The SIPA Awards are a celebration of photography where Siena becomes the heart of the festival during October and November. The event is organised into personal and collective exhibitions, workshops, seminars and conferences. After five years Luca Venturi has created one of the most important international photography contests in the world. The SIPA Awards provide a unique opportunity for photographers to share their creativity and knowledge with likeminded photographers.
I was asked to speak at the Sipa conference along with six other distinguished photographers. The conference was held in the University of Siena with an audience of 200. I spoke alongside fellow speakers, Mary Calvert (documentary photographer), Philip Coburn (Editorial Photographer), Florian Ledoux (Nature and Wildlife Photographer), Alessio Paduano (Editorial Photographer), Hannes Lochner (Wildlife Photographer) and Constanza Portnoy (Documentary Photographer).
The conference had an overall title of “The Storytelling Power of Photography” and the talks included human impact in the environment, new ways of approaching journalism, social justice in photography, the coverage of migration issues, modern ways of storytelling, ethical storytelling and more.
I spoke about the challenges of being a humanitarian photographer. I recognise the confines of my working practice, being impartial within photojournalism / humanitarian photography, being commissioned by charitable organisations to produce images that are positive to their efforts and balancing my charitable photography with commercial photography. The tiresome debate over the politics of photography is in danger of overshadowing the real challenges of making a difference.
I also sat on the panel for a question and answer session. The conference was attended by captains of the industry and students of photography. It was great to be part of Luca’s vision of sharing photography with the world.
Thanks to Mario Llorca for the photos.
For more details about the conference check out SIPA Awards