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World Press Photo award enables photographer to resume his career

By dpreview staff on Mar 12, 2013 at 19:07 GMT

Last Fall, 26-year old Portuguese freelance photojournalist Daniel Rodrigues found himself without income as the photo agency he worked for cut back its freelance staff. With no other option to pay bills and buy food, Rodrigues made the painful decision to sell his camera gear in order to make ends meet. Only a few months later, however, one of the images he had taken while volunteering with a humanitarian organization in Guinea-Bissau took first prize in the Daily Life category from the prestigious World Press Photo foundation. As a result of the ensuing attention, Rodrigues has been able to acquire brand new gear and resume his career in photojournalism.

Youths play football on a field that was once part of a military barracks, in the village of Dulombi, Galomaro, Guinea-Bissau. Photograph by Daniel Rodrigues.

His prize-winning photo, taken while playing an impromptu game of football with local youth, can be seen above. Rodrigues, now armed with a 5D Mark III, lenses and flash courtesy of Canon and a Portuguese bank, is currently working on a government project in Lisbon. He plans to return to the village in Guinea-Bissau where the life-changing photograph was taken to extend his thanks and offer the prize-winning photograph.

You can read more about this remarkable turn of events in interviews he conducted with the New York Times Lens blog and the Portugal Daily View.


Total comments: 47
Anthony Terrot
By Anthony Terrot (Apr 9, 2013)

He was given a second chance - as important he took it. Must have been scarey Daniel, going back, but you can't stop now. Cool pic.

Alejandro del Pielago
By Alejandro del Pielago (Mar 17, 2013)

Excellent image !!!

George 53
By George 53 (Mar 13, 2013)

How wonderful for Daniel to be given a second chance to continue and follow his chosen career.

As far as his image is concerned, I believe the image is stunning. A B&W image gives the viewer time to dwell into the image and see more into the image. Color in many cases camouflages the real image because the viewer is bombarded by color and misses the depth of the message.

David Hart
By David Hart (Mar 13, 2013)

It's always nice to see someone work hard and be given a second chance. Good luck Daniel!!

That being said, I personally have never really liked black & white photography and this photo is no exception. I always wonder how much better the photo would look in full color, what the brown rolling dust would look like, how the green trees in the background would contrast with the ground, etc. As always, art is in the eye of the beholder.

1 upvote
By santitonis (Mar 14, 2013)

YEAH, and Henri Cartier-Bresson is the suckiest sucker of all the suckers who have ever shot. If only he met a bright and colorful man of taste like you and wasn’t so lazy and mediocre, how much better his works would be! And all those paintings with charcoal or pencil… ugh…disgusting! Don’t they know we have all the paints for centuries!!?

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 8 minutes after posting
By aarond (Mar 14, 2013)

What is left when you remove colour is exactly what B&W is about. Choosing to shoot B&W is no different than framing/composition. Photography isn't (generally) about showing every single thing in perfect detail, along with context for everything in the photo (and context for that context...). A photographer chooses what to show you, and almost more importantly, what NOT to show.

"I always wonder how much better the photo would look in full color, what the brown rolling dust would look like, how the green trees in the background would contrast with the ground, etc."

You mean the things that are secondary (or tertiary) to the composition? He chose this particular treatment because that's what told the story best, in his eyes. Who are we to argue (or more accurately, what difference does our opinion make)?

@ Maloy:

You can argue that B&W doesn't suit this particular subject, but the statement "Black and white photography SUCKS" is really uneducated and is borderline trolling.

By atlien991 (Mar 13, 2013)

Very happy to see that photographer regain his chosen profession but am more than a bit torn, as I always am, about these photographs romanticizing people wallowing in poverty winning top prizes.

By Leichhardt (Mar 14, 2013)

8:25 AM

We must be looking at a different prize, from what I could see there were a large range of people and subjects covered, though admittedly there were also photographs of people experiencing terrible circumstances like poverty, war and addiction. It's not the photographers fault that 80 % of the worlds population live on less than $10 a day, and from a purely statistical level, If photography is to be representational of our planets current humanitarian situation, it makes sense that 80% of the photographs of people would be of this majority. Would it be better to avoid taking photos of this majority, so as not to cause the privileged discomfort or would it be better for the privileged to be made aware though the work of photographers like this of the true state of humanity and perhaps, though this education motivate people like you or I to do our bit to improve the current situation?

1 upvote
NZ Scott
By NZ Scott (Mar 13, 2013)

A good story and a great photo. I love the way the dust captures life and the movement of the players. Every one of the participants helps to make the shot. The ball is perfectly placed.

Comment edited 25 seconds after posting
1 upvote
By 88SAL (Mar 13, 2013)

Couldn't agree more, a real victory for a professional photographer in need

1 upvote
Ivar Dahl Larsen
By Ivar Dahl Larsen (Mar 13, 2013)

I am glad on behalf of Rodrigues, I like the photo and of course it's a subjective statement. All photography is subjectively assessed. I am sorry for all the envy that sometime occurrs. I find it great that The world Press supports documentary photography and hey, we are only humans and we are not infallible.

1 upvote
Antony John
By Antony John (Mar 13, 2013)

Always good to see a 'fairy tale ending' come true. Hopefully Daniel will go on to establish himself and enjoy a long and succesful career.
Congratulations also to Canon and the Portugese bank for stepping in and helping out. Kudos

By buzzyslr (Mar 13, 2013)

Great for Daniel. I love the World Press Photo and all that they do. Their exhibition isn't coming to the US again this year. What is going on?

1 upvote
By CameraLabTester (Mar 13, 2013)



Dan Wagner
By Dan Wagner (Mar 13, 2013)

Just search eBay photo equip listings and you will find many photogs selling their equipment. I hope Rodrigues snags another reward before equipment selling season rolls around again.

By CrazyPipo (Mar 12, 2013)

Great story :)

1 upvote
By Murka (Mar 12, 2013)

Um abraço e o apoio de um grupo de amigos do Café Senado do Porto!!!

glenn capers
By glenn capers (Mar 12, 2013)

From rags to riches.

By RoelHendrickx (Mar 12, 2013)

The most optimistic/inspiring aspect of this story IMHO is that it was pro bono personal work that prompted the photographer to follow his own vision, and that is what made him stand out.

By eutueu (Mar 12, 2013)

Parabéns Daniel

Portugal a mostrar o que vale.


1 upvote
By remylebeau (Mar 12, 2013)

Wow, that a story. There seems to be more and more success stories that start from doing personal work.

By alanjdooley (Mar 12, 2013)

Wonderful story and touching image. Both are good news when all around us, phojos are being put out to pasture and replaced by the multitudes with cell phone cameras, image distributors are pirating work and assuming its ownership and the world seems to move from one tragedy to the next at an ever increasing velocity. I am glad to learn of Rodrigues' success and wish for many more for him!

By onlooker (Mar 12, 2013)

Very nice shot.

By sadwitch (Mar 12, 2013)

Nice one!

By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Mar 12, 2013)

How nice to hear such good news about Daniel Rodrigues! As a portuguese photography aficionado, I couldn't help feeling immensely proud of his win, yet at the same time was appalled to learn he was going through such hardship. Someone who can make such a beautiful picture deserves to enjoy success, and I'm glad it all ended well for him.
I probably shoudn't write this, as it might sound like bigotry, but I have another reason to feel proud about Daniel Rodrigues' prize: he took his photography degree at the same school I've attended an workshop on photography techniques in November 2011. This makes me very proud (or, at least, certain that I chose the right school to learn how to deal with a camera...).
On a different note, I must add that, for the first time since I've been visiting DPR, I marked almost all previous comments with a «like». I'm glad this story created such positive reactions.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
By Retzius (Mar 12, 2013)

his horizon is crooked :P

1 upvote
By Digitall (Mar 12, 2013)

It's good to see that after all life can change for the better for many people. I was the first person to warn this situation here in DP, when the article came out about the winners of the "World Press Photo" here in a few weeks ago. I wish him the best of luck. This notoriety will bring back the ability to have a decent life.

By racketman (Mar 12, 2013)

top notch photo and a happy image from the third world wins for a change.

By papparazzi (Mar 12, 2013)

Canon as always!

Walter Konrad
By Walter Konrad (Mar 12, 2013)

nothingbetter to say?

By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Mar 12, 2013)

Well said, Konrad. Trolls will be trolls...

By IrishhAndy (Mar 12, 2013)

A real photographer would have defaulted on the bills.

By wildbild (Mar 12, 2013)

sorry to say that: but this is just BS.
I had once as well to sell my camera to pay the rent.
and believe me: you better do.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 7 minutes after posting
By Tlipp (Mar 12, 2013)

Great pic, but he must not have sold all of his gear.

By wildbild (Mar 12, 2013)

in what world are you living in.
the economic crisis is real!

By Melvil (Mar 12, 2013)

Fantastic shot with real energy and wish him well with his career!

1 upvote
Leandros S
By Leandros S (Mar 12, 2013)

You don't normally win prizes unless you send in your image. This story may in reality have less mystique than its write-up.

1 upvote
Michel Cojan
By Michel Cojan (Mar 12, 2013)

Superb image and story, and (finally) something positive in an otherwise somehow agonizing (classic) world of the photo journalism (invaded by billions of images of all kind as it is). Yes, it feels good & wish him all the best !

By rntbot (Mar 12, 2013)

Congrats Mr Rodrigues! I'm sure you're enjoying your new gear.

By njkdo (Mar 12, 2013)

Great story

Clint Dunn
By Clint Dunn (Mar 12, 2013)

Pretty amazing story. This guy has to sell his gear to pay the bills...then we have all of us clowns on DPReview with G.A.S who buy and sell like they're disposable cameras.

By onlooker (Mar 12, 2013)

So, people who set aside what they may like, work, get well-paying jobs, provide for their families, pay their bills, and from time to time reward themselves from the money they earned are clowns then?

Clint Dunn
By Clint Dunn (Mar 12, 2013)

onlooker - You know what I was getting at. For some people cameras are tools to make a living. For others cameras are a hobby (more-so than the photography). I don't begrudge people buying and selling gear but at the end of the day the majority of us shoot for a hobby.

I just think it's an interesting commentary that some people spend tens of thousands on gear they barely use only to sell it a year or two later when something 'better' comes along. Then you have someone such as this award winning Photojournalist that NEED the gear and are forced to sell. Just sayin'.

By onlooker (Mar 14, 2013)

Well, I am amazed myself sometimes at the frequency some folks buy and sell cameras, but what do I know, maybe I would do the same if I wasn't such a miserable cheapskate. :)

I am still debating buying my first DSLR. I guess part of it is, every time I handle one, none of them feels as good and has a viewfinder as good, and manual focusing as brilliant as my old film SLRs. They don't feel right. Maybe I'm just a grumpy old man.

Jack Simpson
By Jack Simpson (Mar 12, 2013)

Excellent News and a cracking pic :)

By BrunoSouto (Mar 12, 2013)

I wish all the best to this amazing Portuguese photo journalist!

By drent (Mar 12, 2013)

Feels good!

Total comments: 47