AnthropoGraphia 2011 : Visual Story Teller of the Year




The Shortlist :

Christian Vium – Clandestine ~ Paolo Patrizi – Migration linked to prostitution ~ Saiful Huq/Polaris – The Disowned and the Denined- Stateless Rohingya Refugees of Burma ~ Reese Andrea Star – The Urban Cave ~ Di Sturco Giulio/VII Mentor – War on the Edge of Heaven  ~ Zalmaï – The Human cost of war on terror in Afghanistan  ~ David Høgsholt/Getty – KatoeyLand : Ladyboys in Thailand’s Sex Industry ~ William Daniels/Panos – Kyrgyzstan ~ Sebastian Liste/Getty – Urban Quilombo ~ Christian Lutz/VU’ – Tropical Gift, oil and gas in Nigeria ~ Donald Weber/VII Network – Interrogations ~ Giancarlo Ceraudo – Destino Final ~ TerraProject – Friendly Fire : back to the Balkans ~ Sarah Elliott – Poor Choices ~ Javier Arcenillas – Sicarios ~ Rahman Roslan – Human trafficking : Nur’s journey home

The Winner :

Christian Vium for Clandestine

Honorary Mentions :

Saiful Huq for The Disowned and Denied: Stateless Rohingya Refugees of Burma

Paolo Patrizi for Migration Linked to Prostitution.

The 2011 AnthropoGraphia Award for Human Rights in the category of photo-essay is Christian Vium for his project “Clandestine”. Addressing migration from West Africa to Europe, “Clandestine” portrays the difficulties that migrants face as they attempt to leave a life they are familiar with and enter into a foreign country that can be disorientating and violent.

CLANDESTINE by Christian Vium – 2011 AnthroGographia Award, photo-essay category

“CLANDESTINE is a story about life and death. It is the story of men who risk everything in order to provide a better future for their families.

The project CLANDESTINE is an ongoing documentary project about clandestine migration from West Africa to Europe. It is a photographic account of the long and perilous journey, undertaken by young african men, through the vast expanses of the Sahara, across the hostile waves of the ocean and into a foreign continent, Europe.

Based on 5 years of anthropological research, CLANDESTINE is an intimate investigation of men who must denounce themselves and become nobody in order to become somebody and how, as the journey unfolds, they are progressively stripped from their human rights and become naked lives or outcasts of modernity. In its essence, CLANDESTINE is a project about prolonged human liminality. The immediate drama of the actual crossing is mirrored in a profound psychological and symbolic journey. The crossing represents a rite of transition, in which the young migrants become suspended in an existential no man’s land. Between adolescence and adulthood. Between the familiar and the foreign. Between Africa and Europe. Between life and death.

CLANDESTINE portrays how the migrants navigate this marginal ‘space’ and how they cope with fear, loneliness, longing, shame and marginalisation during the journey, and in Europe. Thus, the project is a critique of a world order, in which the poor, who are increasingly constrained in their mobility, are forced to become ‘illegal’ in order to support their families.”



The Shortlist :

Chien-Chi Chang/Magnum – Escape from North Korea ~ Corner Rachel & Laurens Nijzink – Bright Brass ~ Evan Abramson/MediaStorm – When the Water Ends ~ Francesca Mancini – asylum, seeking refuge ~ Ed Kashi/Talking Eyes Media – The Leaves Keep Falling ~ Stefano De Luigi/VII Network – Blanco ~ Walter Astrada/MediaStorm – Undesired ~ Peter Dicampo/VII Mentor – Life without lights

The Winner :

Chien-Chi Chang/Magnum for Escape from North Korea.

Honorary Mentions :

Francesca Mancini for Asylum, Seeking Refuge

Stefano De Luigi/VII Network for Blanco

The 2011 AnthropoGraphia Award for Human Rights in the category of multimedia is Chien-Chi Chang/Magnum for his project “Escape from North Korea.” Chang’s “Escape from North Korea” similarly addresses migration but concentrates on the movement of people from North to South Korea via China, Laos, and Thailand. This journey can take anywhere from a few days to years and is fraught with danger and the specter of repatriation.

Escape from North Korea by Chien-Chi Chang/Magnum – 2011 AnthropoGraphia Award, multimedia category
The exodus of North Korean defectors into China began in late 1990s after a severe famine that killed at least one million of its 23 million people. Once they cross the border to China, they’ll be in hiding and waiting to embark on an extremely secretive, dangerous escape route, known as Asia’s Underground Railroad from northern China all the way to Laos, crossing Mekong River, to Thailand and finally to South Korea. The unpredictable journey can take weeks, months or even years. If they are caught while escaping in China and Laos, they will be repatriated to Communist North Korea, facing severe labor camps or capital punishment. Magnum photographer Chien-Chi Chang traveled with the defectors to document the darkest journey in 2007 and 2008.


Curator’s testimonials


The selections for the 2011 Anthropographia exhibition represent months and sometimes years of commitment on the part of a diverse group of photographers. These are people who stand for compassion, a desire to witness and to tell the important stories that are often overlooked in our mainstream media.

The pieces, whether produced by a well-known photographer or by one new to the field, have something in common. They are woven together by the act of visual storytelling, by a commitment to bring to light the extreme challenges, fear and exploitation faced by so many human beings in this world; issues that should concern us all.

It is my hope that viewers of this exhibition are inspired to more deeply understand human rights issues around the globe. We, as viewers, must find ways to act upon the knowledge we’ve been given access to, through the work of Anthropographia and the artists involved in this exhibition.

Kirsten Elstner
Executive Director, VisionWorkshops
Director, National Geographic Photo Camp


The essays chosen for the exhibition were a compelling mix of essays. From the stark violence in the streets of Guatemala to the lyrical and tragic journey of refugees from Senegal and Mali, the entries were inspiring examples of the important work being created across the world by dedicated photographers.

I once heard the photographer Eugene Richards described as, “The photographer we all want to be…the photographer we all should be.” That description of one of the greatest documentary photographers reminds me of why I appreciate the Anthropographia exhibition. This is the work we all should be doing- important, distressing, resonant, beautiful- it’s why photography exists in many ways.

Patrick Witty
International Picture Editor
TIME Magazine


There are many that would say that photojournalism is dying, yet here at AnthropoGraphia you will find no proof of that—just the opposite. I think that photojournalism, and photography in general, has never been so strong. The economic modes of traditional publication and distribution are changing and so I believe that the meaning of photojournalism needs to be redefined as well. I believe that we must open up new spaces for dialogue and continue to promote photography as a powerful advocacy tool. I believe photography can be used to raise general awareness. Photography can share forgotten stories. I believe in paradigm shift.

AnthropoGraphia exists to promote visual storytellers who commit themselves to telling human stories to the world. AnthropoGraphia seeks to abolish disciplinary borders. Why should photojournalists and artists be seen in different categories? The methodology may be different but ultimately it is the narrative that must come first.

The winner of the still category Christian Vium presents us with a inspire example of visual storytelling in his essay “Clandestine”. He gives us more than just information, because when we look at those images we become lost somewhere in the Mauritanian Sahara, we feel the loneliness, we feel the distress of those men and women crossing countries and hoping to find a better life. The aim of an artist is to express himself through photography, the aim of a photojournalist is to give truthful information using photography as the medium. I think that the visual storyteller finds their way between the art and the information.

Throughout 2011, we are thrilled to be able to show the selected works internationally. I hope that this 2011 exhibition will help raise general awareness on human right issues that the traditional media channels too often marginalize.

Thank you to the inspiring photographers who commit themselves to the art of visual storytelling, to all the brave people who share their stories with them, and the volunteers, donors, and partners that allow Anthropographia to help those stories be shared throughout the world.

Warm regards,

Matthieu Rytz
Founder of Anthropographia


AnthropoGraphia is proud to announce the winners of the 2011 AnthropoGraphia Award for Human Rights. We truly appreciate how daring many of these photographers and artists have been and the lengths they have gone to pursue their projects. We commend their perseverance, often working in difficult and uncomfortable circumstances across the globe, and urge them to continue their important work whether or not they were selected.

AnthropoGraphia is dedicated to promoting human rights through visual story telling. The AnthropoGraphia Award for Human Rights was established to put this dedication into action by being a platform for human rights issues to be understood and debated. Photography has proven to be a powerful vehicle of engagement, so we designed an award that promotes the intersection of human rights and visual images. We believe that by exposing social injustices through images, whoever views these images will take the necessary actions to lessen human rights abuses across the globe.

Over the last two weeks Kirsten Elstner, Executive Director of VisionWorkshops, Inc., Patrick Witty, International Picture Editor, TIME magazine, and Matthieu Rytz, Founder of AnthropoGraphia, reviewed the submissions of the more than 400 truly impressive candidates. This team carefully narrowed down the entries to 16 photo-essays and 8 multimedia projects. These final 24 projects formed the short listed candidates. From these, one outstanding photo-essay and one outstanding multimedia project was chosen as the recipient of this year’s award as well as two honorary mentions.

We want to thank all the visual story tellers who responded to the call for entries. Thank you for your dedication and the exceptional quality of your work. You’ve made this third edition the strongest year so far. We would also like to thank everyone who has been involved in AnthropoGraphia, including our guest curators, partners and the volunteers who staff this organization. Thank you.

© Zalmaï