Statement on the debate surrounding photographs in Alessio Mamo’s Instagram takeover

  • In the 2018 Photo Contest Alessio Mamo was awarded 2nd prize in People, Singles, for his portrait of Manal (11), a victim of a missile explosion in Kirkuk, Iraq.
  • Photo contest winners and digital storytelling contest winners are given the opportunity to takeover the World Press Photo Instagram account for a week to share work of their choosing.
  • We provide guidelines to the photographers undertaking a takeover. The guidelines present general issues for the photographers to consider; the guidelines are published below.
  • Above all else, we ask photographers to be transparent about what they do, how they do it, and why they do it.
  • The photographers are responsible for selecting their work to show and writing their captions. They can present a portfolio of past work or a current project.
  • Alessio Mamo’s takeover started on 16 July and ended on 22 July. Other than his portrait of Manal, none of the photographs Alessio has shared were awarded prizes in the photo contest.
  • The World Press Photo Foundation is a platform that connects members of our community (contest winning photographers, masterclass participants, etc.) with the general audience. Being a platform we do not limit photographer’s choices beyond the guidelines provided, and we ask the photographers to respond directly to the audience when questions arise.
  • We keep our guidelines for Instagram takeovers under constant review to learn from the debates about pictures and projects the photographers share.

Update 24 July 2018:

Alessio Mamo issued a personal statement on his controversial project:

World Press Photo Foundation Instagram account guidelines to photographers

Thank you for contributing to the World Press Photo Foundation Instagram account!


Our account has hundreds of thousands of followers who love to see quality visual journalism and storytelling, and they will be excited to see your work.

You control the images you share during your takeover of our feed. You make the selection, write the captions and manage the posting through our web service. You’re welcome to present a portfolio of past work or a current project — the choice is yours. Above all else, we want you to be transparent about what you do, how you do it, and why you do it.

What should I share?

Selecting what is shown on our feed during your takeover comes with some responsibilities, given the selection will reflect on both you as a journalist/storyteller and us as an organisation.

The World Press Photo Foundation’s (WPPF) goal is to present accurate, compelling and creative work allowing people to see the world freely.

Sharing on social media comes with a special responsibility given that the algorithms which control what we see on social media automatically distribute content to followers. While it is important for the reality of the most difficult situations in the world to be evident, we ask that you think carefully about:

  • The language used in captions, particularly on controversial subject matter
  • Whether graphic and violent photographs are necessary for the story presented, especially when they involve images of children
  • How pictures and stories might be received and understood in different parts of the world

The WPPF reserves the right to edit a post or a photographer’s selection, although we will only do this after consultation with the photographer.

General guidelines on posting

We encourage you to monitor comments on your posts throughout your takeover and engage with/respond to followers’ comments and questions via your own Instagram account where you feel necessary. WPPF will not comment on most issues, unless there is a specific factual error that reflects on the foundation.