UNICEF Foto des Jahres 2009: Johan Bävman

UNICEF Photo of the Year 2009


Each year, UNICEF Germany and GEO Germany (from the publishing house Gruner +Jahr GmbH & Co KG) grant the “UNICEF Photo of the Year Award” to photos and photo series that best depict the personality and living conditions of children worldwide in an outstanding manner.

Johan Bävman is the winner of the competition “UNICEF Photo of the Year 2009”. His reportage depicts the situation of albino children in Tanzania.

Johan Bävman, Sweden

Deadly superstition

Selina joyfully watches her friend Mwanaidi playing. Selina suffers from a skin pigment disorder. Her body produces nearly no melanin at all. She is one of approx. 150,000 albinos in Tanzania.

Deadly superstition.  © Johan Bävman/Moment
Bild 1 von 9 © Johan Bävman/Moment
Deadly superstition.  © Johan Bävman/Moment
Bild 2 von 9 © Johan Bävman/Moment
Deadly superstition.  © Johan Bävman/Moment
Bild 3 von 9 © Johan Bävman/Moment
Deadly superstition.  © Johan Bävman/Moment
Bild 4 von 9 © Johan Bävman/Moment
Deadly superstition.  © Johan Bävman/Moment
Bild 5 von 9 © Johan Bävman/Moment
Deadly superstition.  © Johan Bävman/Moment
Bild 6 von 9 © Johan Bävman/Moment
Deadly superstition.  © Johan Bävman/Moment
Bild 7 von 9 © Johan Bävman/Moment
Deadly superstition.  © Johan Bävman/Moment
Bild 8 von 9 © Johan Bävman/Moment
Deadly superstition.  © Johan Bävman/Moment
Bild 9 von 9 © Johan Bävman/Moment

Selina feels safe in her classroom at Mintindo Primary School in Northern Tanzania. Here, she doesn’t need to fear for her life because of her pale skin and white hair. This paleness is the reason that many African albinos are hunted and killed. The local superstition is that their body parts bring luck, wealth, heal the sick, etc.

The belief in ghosts and witchcraft is deeply rooted in Tanzanian culture, especially in rural areas. About three years ago, the country saw a sharp increase in crimes against albinos. Often they are assaulted with the utmost brutality: attackers cut off albino children’s limbs and leave them to bleed to death. According to official sources, more than 40 albinos have been murdered in Tanzania. The government and the authorities have started to persecute the attackers and it now looks as if violence against albinos is declining.

Swedish photographer Johan Bävman accompanied several albinos on the edges of society. Due to the light color of their skin, they are stared at, ridiculed and ostracized. They are called “zeru zeru” – the children of the devil.

Albinos need protection – also against the rays of the sun which are particularly strong in Africa. Many people with albinism, like Saidi Tamin, suffer from skin cancer and their body is covered with ulcers and tumors. Due to his condition, he is not able to work anymore. Together with his 13-year-old son Ally, he now lives on handouts.

Curriculum Vitae: Johan Bävman

Johan Bävman. ©UNICEF/Zimmermann

Photographer Johan Bävman

© UNICEF/Zimmermann

Press photographer [Malmö 2008-work in progress]
edditorial and studio experience for the newspaper Sydsvenskan/Aftonbladet/Trelleborg Allehanda/Ystads Allehanda.

Freelance photographer [Sweden 2004-work in progress]
Freelance photographer for Swedish newspaper and different advertising company.

Moment Agency [world 2009]
A part of the photo agency Moment, parthers with; VU L´agence, Redux, Grazia Neri and Focus. www.momentagency.com.
Exhibition and Distinction:

  • The book Albino - In the shadow of the sun [Around the world 2009]
    The photobook Albino-I skuggan av solen / In the shadow of the sun.Own puplisher. Design: Grand Ideas (Nils Jarlsbo), Karinform (Karin Nilsson).One of four nominate to best photobook, Sweden 2009.
  • Gallery Kontrast, Gallery Format [Stockholm 2009]
    Exhibition Albino- In the shadow of the sun, Galleri Kontrast, Hornsgatan 8, Stockholm. From 29 aug until 1 nov 2009.
  • World Press Photo [Around the world 2009]
    Contemporary issue second prize, Albino in Tanzania
  • POY, pictures of the year [USA 2009]
    Awards of exellence, Issue Reporting Picture Story
  • Pictures of the year / Årets bild [Sweden 2009]
    First prize in best external reportage
  • The FreeLens Award for Young Photojournalism [Hannover/Germany 2008]
    1 of 60 photographer from around the world, who got nominated to Freelens Award and got the opportunity to have a exhibition including 15 pictures under the ungoing photofestival in Hannover from 18 juni until the 22 juni 2008.Know more vistit their homepage www.fotofestival-hannover.de
  • The Joop Swart Masterclass [Amsterdam 2008]
    1 of 100 to be nominated to World Press Photos "The joop Swart masterclass". Read more about on their homepage www.worldpressphoto.org
  • Jag mötte dig [Skåne 2006]
    Separate exhibition with mixed pictures. Gallery Östra toarp from 17 juni until 27 juli 2006.
  • Don't tell it to anyone/ Berätta inte för någon [Stockholm 2006]
    Gathering exhibitions by twenty photographers from Nordic School of Photography, Biskops-Arnö. And also the photo book "Berätta inte för någon" Kartago publishing house. Gallery "Contrast" from 4 Feb. up to 5 mars 2006. By the book at www.nevabooks.se/
  • Örja 19 [Landskrona/Skåne 2005]
    A big modern photo documentations about the living area Örja 19, the exhibition include over sixty pictures. Landskrona museum from 19 June up to 4 September 2005.. With Henrik Rosenqvist. Landskrona museum from 19 juni until 4 sep 2005


  • Nordic School of Photography , Biskops-Arnö [Stockholm 2004-2007]
    Three years KY-education press photographer 120 points. Teachers Anna Clarén and Mikkel Örstedholm.
  • Östra-Grevie Folk high school [Malmö 2003-2004]
    One-year photo education. With teacher Günter Raül.
  • Sydskånska gymnasieförbundet [Ystad 1998-2001]
    Media program whit alignment on photo and video.