The photograph of Cadet Lewerski was one of the winners of this year’s World Press Photo Awards. To me, it shows the ongoing pride of not only ship but person that has been the hallmark of good sailors throughout history. No wonder this simple yet startling portrait was among the photographs chosen.
Now a warning: clicking the link will take you to the photograph above. I suggest that you peruse the others with caution, particularly if you are at all squeamish about the realities of life around the world. Some of the pictures are serenely beautiful: a Congolese woman playing her cello amid the bustle of daily life (#8), a model before a backdrop of desert sky (#9), swans at a lake in Japan (#16). Some are so mundane as to rise above their own context: models at fashion week (#7), a girl taking her own picture to upload to MySpace (#14). Quite a few are jarring reminders that our world is no better than it was when plagues and famine lurked around every corner, and women were tortured and burned as witches: the bodies of dead children in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti (#10), a man committing suicide in Hungary (#6), the face of a teenage girl from Afghanistan mutilated on order of the Taliban for fleeing her abusive marriage (#1). If any of that troubles you – as it rightly should – feel free to stick to the handsome sailor with the interesting name. Or don’t click over at all.