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‘Roots to Ashes’ by Hannah Reyes Morales

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The 26th edition of World Press Photo’s Joop Swart Masterclass took place on 17–21 September 2019 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Each year, in preparation for the masterclass, the participants produce a project on one single theme to be discussed during editing sessions with the five masters. .

As one of 12 selected to participate in World Press Photo’s Joop Swart Masterclass, Hannah Reyes Morales says being given a space to be able to pay attention to people stood out to her during the week. “I think for me those rests, those moments of breath, where I get to see these people not as photographers but as amazing human beings has been the highlight of my week. We are building something.”

This year, the masterclass theme was ‘Contrast’, and Hannah was most struck by the rich contrast that comes with being in a truly diverse group of people.

“What I’ve confirmed to myself after seeing this class is what true diversity can bring to the table, and what true diversity can bring into a space. When you’re seeing people from multiple perspectives, and different backgrounds, then the work becomes really different. I think the industry often looks at diversity as this problem to be solved, but really it’s a gift. Diversity is something that allows us to think beyond what we already know… It’s not about brown people winning awards or opportunities, it’s about what different kinds of people from different perspectives, and different backgrounds, can bring to the table.”

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