Signal. The Story Behind John Stanmeyer’s Award Winning Photograph

I remember when John Stanmeyer’s photograph was unveiled as the World Press Photo of the Year award in 2014. There was the usual controversy but, uncommonly it was understood immediately by most. The importance and prevalence of mobile phones in society was all the explanation a casual viewer needed. Beyond that it was perhaps seen as something quite comical by mimicking an experience anyone with bad cell reception has had.

The filmmakers behind Photo Wings caught up with Stanmeyer to find out the story behind the image in this lovely short film:

Video description on Vimeo:

“Longtime National Geographic photojournalist John Stanmeyer shares the poignant story behind his World Press Photo of the Year winning image, “Signal.” John touches on the value of “getting lost” as a part of his process, the importance of communication, and the distances people will travel in pursuit of hope and opportunity.”

As Stanmeyer explains the people in the image holding their phones aloft are doing something called “catching” where they try to catch a signal from neighbouring Somalia where cell networks are among the cheapest in the world. Those lucky enough to manage it are able to Skype and phone their loved ones back home at a far cheaper cost.


Thanks for the tip, Matthew.

Via Photo Wings

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