Each year, UNICEF Germany grants the “UNICEF Photo of the Year Award” to photos and photo series that best depict the personality and living conditions of children all around the world.
In addition to the first four prizes, the jury also awards eight honorable mentions.
This year, international experts nominated 120 photographers from 37 countries, who submitted a total of 1,310 pictures.
It is hard to imagine what they have to go through: children whose daily routine is to crawl into tunnels that are constantly in danger of collapsing. Just to scrape out a handful of coals to be sold for a few rupees. The situation in Indian coal mines, captured by Australian photographer Daniel Berehulak, gives an idea of the appalling conditions of child workers forced to work in coal mines in the Jaintia Hills in the Indian state of Meghalaya. The number of underage workers in these hills is disputed: according to Indian child rights organization Impulse, there are up to 70,000.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child guarantees every child the right to be protected from child labor. In 2006, the Indian government changed the law and made it illegal for children under 14 to be employed as domestic workers. A decision confirmed by the Indian government once again in November 2012.
But the small boy struggling to clean and break the coals simply has no choice. This job is his only means of survival.
Daniel Berehulak is a photojournalist for Getty Images News Service, based in India. A native of Sydney, Australia, Daniel studied History at the University of New South Wales. Daniel’s photographic career began shooting sports in Australia; in 2005 he relocated to London as a staff photographer for Getty. Daniel has worked in over 40 countries, covering a wide range of stories including the war in Iraq, Saddam Hussein's trial, child labor in India, Benazir Bhutto's return to Pakistan, the Pakistan floods and more recently the aftermath of the Japanese Tsunami and transition and transformation in Libya and Egypt.
Daniel has won several awards including two World Press Photo Awards, the John Faber Award from the Overseas Press Club of America, Photo of the Year China International Press Photo and runner up for the Pulitzer Prize.
Daniel's photos have appeared regularly in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Independent, The Times, Stern, Time and Newsweek.
They have to fend for themselves. And very often they even have to look after their little brothers and sisters. Some are lucky enough to live with their grandmother or even both grandparents. Nearly one in three children in the Republic of Moldova is living without its father or mother. Some of those left behind will not see their parents for whole months or even years. The money their parents earn abroad by working in elderly care or harvesting crops is not enough to visit their children at home. In addition, the parents also often have to pay a lot of money to their trafficking agencies. As a result, their only connection in many cases is a voice on the phone or a face on the computer screen during their Skype sessions. This leads to sorrow and solitude on both sides. German photographer Andrea Diefenbach documents these separate worlds in her 2012 book “Country without parents”.
In 2006, a study funded by UNICEF found that children who are left behind at home by their parents often suffer from this separation and create an emotional distance over time. The study also shows that it is particularly difficult for small children left behind to develop any kind of genuine social contact, even with other children their age.
AWARDS, SCHOLARSHIPS, RESIDENCIES
Stern, Spiegel, GEO, GEO special, GEO saison, GEO international, Geolino, Mare, Merian, Cicero, NEON, Nido, Brand Eins, DIE ZEIT, ZEIT Wissen, ZEIT Magazin, Chrismon, SZ Magazin, Brigitte, Brigitte Women, Freundin, Frankfurter Rundschau Magazin, ADAC Reisemagazin, MISSY Magazin,Vital, DU, Annabelle, NZZ, Le Monde, Ojode Pez, Nature, La Repubblica delle Donne, PDN, The Fader, Once Magazine, Foto Eight, Newsweek Japan.
Large parts of Somalia are still controlled by local clans, warlords, radical Islamists or pirates.
Iranian photographer Hossein Fatemi shows how war affects children in Somalia. His photos document their daily struggle for survival between gun violence and hunger. They show their life in refugee camps without any chance for a better future – a chance every child has a right to have.
It is a dangerous task to provide assistance under such conditions. Constant violence and lack of security make it even more difficult to provide the population with food, water and medical care. UNICEF and its partners supported hundreds of thousands of malnourished girls and boys in food centers all over Somalia and provided about 1.7 million people with access to clean water.
Hossein Fatemi, b.1980 in Iran, started his career as a photographer in 1997. He has worked in Lebanon, Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Georgia, Russia, India, Somalia, Kenya and Afghanistan. His work has been published in numerous national and international publications including The Times, Newsweek, Paris Match, The New York Times, The Guardian and The Washington Post.
Hossein Fatemi who is a member of Panos Pictures agency has won numerous awards during his career. He is currently based in Tehran, Iran.
Nowadays, the Chechen Republic is part of the Russian Federation. While religion was banned during the time when Chechnya was part of the Soviet Union, the current regime of President Ramzan Kadyrov is pursuing a religious agenda based on Islamic traditions. These traditions are supposed to strengthen society’s moral values and act as a bulwark against “moral decline”. Russian photographer Diana Markosian, who lives in the USA, tried to capture the religious influence on the life of teenage girls during her seven-month stay in Chechnya from 2011 to 2012.
All women in Chechnya must now wear headscarves in public schools and state buildings. They are also frequently required to wear a version of the Hijab that covers the whole body. Regular prayers have also become part of the daily routine. Relationships between girls and boys are under strong supervision. Any intimacies prior to marriage are strictly prohibited. In turn, the regime encourages young people to marry early and have many children.
Diana Markosian (b. 1989) is a documentary photographer working out of Russia and the former Soviet Union.
Her interest in the aftermath of war has taken her from the remote mountains of Dagestan, to the ancient Silk Road in Tajikistan and overland to perilous landscape of Afghanistan.
Markosian's work has appeared in The New York Times, Time.com, Foreign Policy, Foto8, The London Times, Boston Globe, Human Rights Watch, amongst others.
Freelance Photographer & Writer June 2010 - Present
In December 1984, a gas tank exploded at the US-owned Union Carbide pesticides manufacturing plant in Bhopal, India, releasing 40 tons of hazardous substances into the atmosphere. Earlier on, the company allegedly had reduced safety standards in the factory to save money. Thousands of people died that very night and countless others went blind or suffered from brain damage, paralysis, pulmonary edemas, heart and liver diseases and stomach problems. The long-term effects include deformities in babies and growth retardation among children. Today, the site is still contaminated and continues to release toxic chemicals into Bhopal’s soil and groundwater. As of today, nobody has accepted the responsibility to clean up and restore the industrial site. Or to help the victims. As an eye witness, Italian photographer Alex Masi feels responsible to draw awareness to this tragic situation and the still unsolved problem of toxic waste disposal through his long-term photographic project.
After having completed a degree in ‘Photojournalism’ at the ‘London College of Communication’ in 2006, Alex has begun to investigate and document critical socio-environmental issues and human rights abuses in countries such as India, Afghanistan, Nigeria and most recently Iraq. He has devoted his attention on exposing peculiar stories of human-made injustice, focusing mainly on children, their living conditions, their health, their human rights.
In the past 3 years Alex has visited Bhopal, India, several times documenting the severe water pollution in the city and its impact the local population, as a consequence to the poisonous chemicals left behind by Union Carbide (now DOW Chemical) after the infamous 1984 gas disaster. Most recently, he has collected testimonies and produced images exposing the mysterious sharp increase in birth defects in Fallujah, Iraq, after two fierce US-led sieges in 2004.
Alex believes documentary photography ought to be an active catalyst in promoting awareness, political and juridical change, and foster action by individuals, NGOs and governmental bodies. He strives to portray my subjects with intimacy and meaning. Alex aspires to convey emotions, to present images that stimulate our deeper and most innate feelings, our senses of empathy, justice, respect and brotherhood.
His work has appeared on international publications such as ‘GQ’, ‘Newsweek’, ‘The Guardian’, ‘The New York Times’, ‘Smithsonian Magazine’, ‘Foreign Policy’, ‘Vanity Fair’, ‘Marie Claire’, ‘VIEW (Stern)’, ‘El Pais Semanal’, ‘The National Magazine’, ‘Die Zeit’, ‘Welt am Sonntag’ and ‘Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin’ among many others.
A selection of awards and recognitions includes:
Series Photojournalism/Social Documentary
At what age are adolescents allowed – or should be allowed – to carry out the right of self-determination when it comes to their bodies? 17-year-old Nancy* has been using Botox since she was 15. Botox is a nerve toxin that is used to reduce wrinkles. 16-year-old Peggy* has registered for breast augmentation at a plastic surgery clinic. And David* (also 16) had a sex change operation to turn into a girl.
South African-born photographer Michelle Sank lives in England. She does not judge the young people who expose their vision of a perfect body in front of her camera. She remains a neutral observer of this desire for change.
Michelle Sank has been living and working in the UK since 1987. Her photographs have been exhibited and published extensively in England, Europe, Australia and Mexico, South Africa and the U.S.A.
She has undertaken numerous commissions for prominent galleries and magazines in Europe and the USA. In 2007 she was one of the winners in the National Portrait Gallery’s Photographic Prize in London, seen as the leading showcase for contemporary portrait photography worldwide. In 2010 she was the Single Image Winner in the International Photographic Award, the British Journal of Photography.
Michelle Sank has three published books, The Water's Edge: Women on the Waterfront (Published by Liverpool University Press, 2007) - a study of women who worked and still work on Liverpool's Docks, Becoming (Published by Belfast Exposed Photography and Ffotogallery, 2006) - a major monograph featuring her portraits of young people taken over five years, and The Submerged published by Schilt Publishing, 2011.
She has also been represented in art and photography journals and magazines including Next Level, Katalog, PhotoNews, Portfolio, The British Journal of Photography and PhotoReview and in newspapers such as The Independent, The Guardian, The Observer and The Telegraph.
Sank's photography is held in the permanent collections of Allan Servais, Brussells, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, and Open Eye Gallery Archive, Liverpool.
Selected Solo shows include
Selected Group shows include
Some African regions are stuck in a vicious circle of violence in combination with economic, social and climate changes that leaves many inhabitants scared and distressed. As a result, they look for explanations for phenomena they do no’t understand, such as failed harvests, stolen cattle, dried-up wells, malicious diseases, impotence, sudden wealth or severe poverty in the surrounding area. Superstition makes it easy for them to find the real culprits: witches.
In 2011, Swedish photographer Åsa Sjöström met a group of women who were stigmatized as witches and had to live in a camp without water and electricity in Northern Ghana. They had to flee here because they were frequently defamed, beaten and threatened with death.
Even children are being accused of witchcraft. UNICEF supports self-help groups and local organizations in their work to educate people and thereby set an end to this kind of persecution.
Åsa Sjöström was born 1976 in Gothenburg, Sweden. She studied photojournalism at Nordens Fotoskola Biskops Arnö. After graduating in 2002 she began her proffesional career in 2003 as a freelance photographer. Åsa has worked for several Daily Newspapers in Sweden such as Dagens Nyheter, Aftonbladet, Göteborgs-Posten and since 2007 she work as a staff photographer at Sydsvenskan in Malmö, where she lives.
Every year, about 1.5 million Turkish boys have their foreskin removed to officially become a member of their religious community German photographer Christian Werner observed that the boys feel obliged to follow this tradition. “Sünnet” is the Turkish word for this surgical procedure. Apart from wedding and military service, Sünnet is the most important event in the life of a Turkish man. Parents, relatives and friends prepare for weeks for the day when ceremonial vestment makes the boys look like princes. But after the ceremony, when the local anesthesia fades, the boy’s face and posture show his pain.
In May 2011, the German photographer was allowed to capture the work of Turkey’s most famous surgeon, Kemal Özkan. Which was by no means a matter of course for him, coming from a different cultural background.
Christian Werner is a freelance photographer based in Nordstemmen, Germany.
As a teenager he developed his interest in photography while traveling to foreign countries.
Since 2009 he’s studying photojournalism at the University of Applied Sciences in Hannover.
His main interests are social diversity and global political issues. The areas of interest is mainly the arabic world and culture.
Since 2012 Christian is represented by agency laif.