Photography

We live in the information age. We are awash with information and imagery from cell phones, bloggs, social sites and lobbyists and despite the unreliability of much that we see, it’s good to be informed. I’m a fan of citizen journalism and everything it brings, good and bad. It’s an amazing privilege to have such intimate access to people’s lives and experiences, from people who are inevitably closer to the action and better informed than most visiting reporters. Suddenly the voiceless have a voice that reaches all around the world, sometimes with dramatic results.

But information means little without understanding, and there are times when the raw intimacy of the citizen journalist isn’t enough. The study of human rights abuse is one example. Isolated reports of brutality and mistreatment taken on their own tell us little that we don’t already know: there are some bad people out there and many unfortunate victims. It’s the job of the human rights investigator to dig deeper, to research and reveal systematic abuse, to understand motive and scale which are abstract notions often guarded and expertly concealed by perpetrators who don’t want their purpose exposed.

It takes a very special skill and absolute dedication to describe these enormities. Photography harnesses a rare and powerful immediacy putting us face-to-face and eye-to-eye with people whom some would prefer us not to meet. And while each photograph is about a specific individual, real people and all too real events, these essays are constructed to demonstrate the individual’s place in a bigger picture. Think of these stories as collages, each piece of which is a story but only when viewed as a whole is the greater truth revealed.

This is a systematic process that doesn’t happen by unfortunate accident of time and place, it is a deliberate, painstaking and sometimes dangerous occupation. Often working for little or no money these photographers forgo regular comforts and expose themselves to danger, which in recent years has become increasingly lethal to those who seek to expose the powerful forces of oppression. The Anthropographia Awards offer recognition to these dedicated journalists and help to spread their stories.

But this is only the beginning. Collecting and organizing the evidence means little if we the viewers don’t act on what we learn. In looking at this work and applauding the skill and dedication of the photographers who created it we accept a responsibility to understand what we see. We are the recipients of information and we are partners in creating knowledge. What we do with that knowledge is a personal choice but with consequences at least as great as those of the photographers who helped us to this understanding. We are not passengers on the information super highway, but participants.

Stephen Mayes, January 2010

Managing Director, VII Photo

Secretary to the International Jury of World Press Foundation

Member of anthropographia board of adviser

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It is a great honor to present the winners of anthropographia Awards 2010. Anthropographia’s aim is to create new spaces for photojournalism; new spaces that encourage the promotion of human rights, expose social injustice and underline the multiple realities of our current world.

The quality of the chosen photojournalism essays, selected by a prestigious jury, testifies to the undeniable strength that the still image has on human consciousness. The jury, which includes members who are recognized for their exceptional photojournalistic work, their commitment to contemporary photojournalism and their dedication to human rights advocacy, made a very accurate job by carefully reviewing the submission.

We received a large number of essays and the selection of the nominees was a challenging process for the jury, as we sadly had to turn down many outstanding ones. The jury shortlisted 24 photography essays as well as 10 multimedia pieces which will be displayed on large scale exhibitions internationally. This collection of works is a perfect example of the power to communicate and inform in a very effective way about human rights issues via photography and multimedia.

We would like to thank all the photographers who participated in this second edition of the photojournalism competition on human rights. It is your dedication and the exceptional quality of your work that allowed us to make this 2010 edition another great success. We express our gratitude as well to everyone who has been involved in anthropographia, in particular the jury and the essential partners, pillars of this adventure.

Matthieu Rytz

Founder of Anthropographia

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Awards

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The Anthropographia Award for Photography and Human Rights

Marcus Bleasdale/VII photo wins the The Anthropographia Award for Photography and Human Rights for his powerfull work “The Rape of A Nation” that points out Human rights abuse in the Democratic Republic du Congo. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is home to the deadliest war in the world today. An estimated 5.4 million people have died since 1998, the largest death toll since the Second World War, according to the International Rescue Committee (IRC). IRC reports that as many as 45,000 people die each month in the Congo. Most deaths are due to easily preventable and curable conditions, such as malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia, malnutrition, and neonatal problems and are byproducts of a collapsed healthcare system and a devastated economy.

©Bleasdale

Marcus Bleasdale/VII photo - "The Rape of A Nation"

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Honorary Mentions

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Photography and Human Rights honorary mentions

Munem Wasif/Agence VU/Prix Pictet & Wateraid wins an honorary mention for his work “Salt water tears” that relates the tragedy of the lack of drinkable water in southwestern Bangladesh.

Munem Wasif/Agence VU | Salt water tears | Bangladesh

Munem Wasif/Agence VU | Salt water tears | Bangladesh

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Marc Wattrelot wins an honorary mention for his work “Lost From Balochistan” that relates the penjabis domination against the balochis.Balochis cultivates a particular resentment against the central power, accused of enslaving them and delaying the provincial development while drawing from its rich basement.

Marc Wattrelot | Lost From Balochistan | Pakistan

Marc Wattrelot | Lost From Balochistan | Pakistan

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