Canon Irista 2017 / 2019

1. World Press Photo VR


Joao Gil for World Press Photo & Canon / 2018
Available for Oculus, Gear VR, Google Daydream & Cardboard


Immerse yourself in the world most prestigious photo competition.

  To celebrate its 25-year partnership with World Press Photo, Canon is launching an immersive virtual gallery. Canon, world-leader in imaging solutions, today announces the UK launch of a World Press Photo virtual reality experience – an immersive virtual gallery.

The exhibition tour, which was launched in Amsterdam, showcases 45 winning images from the 60th World Press Photo Contest – over half of which were shot on Canon. In a bid to inspire a wider photography audience, users can explore the 45 best images of 2017 – and their incredible stories – at any time. The World Press Photo VR app is available for free download in the Oculus Store.

“Canon has been inspiring and enabling storytelling for 80 years, and this unique VR experience in collaboration with World Press Photo is part of our ongoing exploration of immersive storytelling. We believe virtual reality plays an exciting role in telling the incredible stories behind the winning images from this year’s World Press Photo Contest by creating an intimate, thoughtful and engaging experience that evolves the traditional gallery.”

Richard Shepherd
Pro Marketing Manager, Consumer Imaging, Canon Europe

Those who engage with the VR experience will see the winning photos displayed in a virtual gallery that evolves based on each users’ individual interaction with the photos. The unique VR experience, which provides a deeper insight into the stories behind the images, is narrated by Stuart Franklin, chair of the 2017 World Press Photo Content general jury.

“The world, the press and photography itself are undergoing seismic changes. For the last 25 years, we have enjoyed a partnership with Canon that has supported visual storytelling. World Press Photo cherishes its heritage, while at the same time recognises that, with the rise of new technologies, there are now many ways to make and see images – including in virtual environments. Canon’s VR experience enables the world’s best photojournalism to be showcased in a new way, taking us to the stories behind these incredible pictures.”

Lars Boering
Managing Director, World Press Photo Foundation

Visiting a gallery is now just a virtual reality headset away thanks to Canon’s VR experience, which allows people to explore a full photographic exhibition from the comfort of their home through the World Press Photo app.

The innovative, immersive app places the user in a vast gallery space surrounded with images from the 60th World Press Photo competition. Created by the team at irista, Canon’s photography management platform, it brings the 45 World Press Photo winning images, over half of which were shot on Canon, to life through VR.

Joao Gil for World Press Photo & Canon / 2018
Screenshot Photo Detail

Images celebrating the best in visual storytelling are displayed in a virtual gallery that evolves based on each user’s interaction. Focusing on an image ahead causes the user to glide forwards until they are looking up at an imposing high-res photograph. Looking around or behind will move you to other winners’ images, while the stories behind the photographs are narrated by Stuart Franklin, the Magnum photographer and Chair of the General Jury at World Press Photo 2017.

Exploration is deliberately slow, with the app designed to encourage a gentle pace, quiet contemplation and enjoyment of the novelty of having a gallery all to oneself.

Joao Gil for World Press Photo & Canon / 2018
Screenshot Gallery View

“We are offering people the chance to visit the exhibition without having to travel to the biggest cities in the world and I think that adds a lot of value” says João Gil, Lead User Experience for VR:

“We developed this project so that it would create a contemplative environment where the user is not distracted by any element except the photograph, where interactions are very limited and only defined by each user’s engagement with the shot.”

Joao Gil
Lead UX Designer, Canon

Joao Gil for World Press Photo & Canon / 2018
Screenshot Gallery 

This new approach, released as Canon and World Press Photo celebrate a 25-year strong partnership, acknowledges that while its content is not new, the presentation is unique.

“The photos have already been seen online and if you want to quickly scroll through while on the bus home you can, but that wasn’t for us,” explains João. “VR has the power to transport you to any reality. We created a reflective environment for people to explore and engage at a deeper and more intimate level. We also wanted to create something that people could go back to and get something new from the experience during each visit.”

Joao Gil for Canon Irista / 2018
Screenshot Photo Detail

Joao Gil for Canon Irista / 2018
Illustration Gallery Architecture

Joao Gil for Canon Irista / 2018
Map User Journey

Nicholas Babain   Product Owner

Joao Gil  Lead UX & Product Designer
David Haynes   Tech Lead & UE4 Developer

Stuart Franklin  —  Narrator of the Experience, Magnum Photographer & Chair of the General Jury at World Press Photo 2017
Lucy Fulford  Text & Copy

All image credits to World Press Photo