Photographer honored for Google Street View Photos

byNicole Martinelli
Feb 21, 2011 in Multimedia Journalism

Photographers often face danger to snap the winning pictures honored by the World Press Photo contest.

This year, German photographer Michael Wolf stood in front of his computer screen with a tripod to shoot the pictures which earned him an honorable mention in the prestigious contest.

Titled "A Series of Unfortunate Events," his project earned a mention in the Contemporary Issues category for the 2011 edition of the contest. Wolf's 12 grainy pics in the series are unquestionably arresting, from capturing an elderly woman fallen on the sidewalk to a bicyclist getting hit by a car.

About the honor, Wolf told the British Journal of Photography that although he has won first prize in the competition twice, this honorable mention is “worth hundred times more to me because it's such a conceptual leap for the World Press jury to award a prize to someone that photographs virtually. It's mind-blowing."

Google launched Street View project in May 2007 to show 360 degree view of streets and buildings in towns and cities throughout the world. It has frequently been in the news, as governments in various countries – from the Czech Republic to Canada -- have protested that the street cam pics violate the privacy of citizens.

This, however, looks like the first time that Google Street View has been honored as photojournalism. Veteran photojournalist and professor Kevin Moloney makes the point that although Wolf's photos are part of the vast remix culture – like music mash-ups from artists like Girl Talk – they are not photojournalism.

Do you think Wolf's work deserved the World Press award or not?