Marisela is six and a half years old and weighs 9kg. Alex is six months old and weighs 3kg. Maira is sixteen years old and weighs 20kg. They are three of the many underweight little ones in Eastern Guatemala suffering from severe malnutrition in the country’s so-called ‘dry corridor’. Due to the lack of vital nutrients in the most important periods of growth, these children suffer from irreversible mental and physical damage.

During his research in the provinces Jalapa, Chiquimula and Zacapa, Spanish photographer JM Lopez continuously encountered the same severe problems: increasing desiccation of the already poor quality soils available to the Campesinos due to climate change; and the decades overdue agricultural reform. 15 percent of the population still owns 70 percent of the country’s farmland.

Apart from the institutions that JM Lopez has taken photos of and the short-term medical help and supply of nutrients they provide, it is very obvious that a sustainable improvement of people’s living conditions in Guatemala can only be achieved by overall structural and political changes.

Therefore, UNICEF together with its partner organizations and the Guatemalan government aims to reduce chronic malnutrition in children under the age of five by 10 percent by 2014 and to guarantee access to medical services for children and pregnant women. In particular, this campaign will focus on the 130 communities with the lowest social indicators and high percentages of the poor and rural indigenous population.
In Guatemala, one million children suffer from hunger and one in two children under the age of five suffers from chronic malnutrition, according to estimates by UNICEF.

Curriculum Vitae: JM Lopez

JM Lopez | ©Jesus F. Salvadores

© Jesus F. Salvadores

I am an independent Spanish photographer who is trying to earn a living with this job and learn something everyday. After studying Photography at the School of Arts of Oviedo (Spain) I was working as a staff photographer for eleven years in “La Cronica de Leon”, a local newspaper of my city, until 2009.

As a freelance photographer I have travelled around the world producing my own stories. I have been to more than sixty countries and I worked documenting issues in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Iran, Kosovo, Haiti, Guatemala, Nagorno-Karabakh, Venezuela, and DR Congo among others.

I am focused on issues having to do with social conflicts and injustice in the world and I would like to think that my work can help to improve lives of the people who I photograph.

My images have been published in media such as L’espresso, Tiempo, La Vanguardia, El Mundo and they have been shown many times in both individual and collective exhibitions.

By means of photojournalism I can express my own creativity and at the same time tell the others what is happening around us.


  • 2011
    2nd Place UNICEF Photo of the Year Award.
    Selected at ANI Award, Visa Pour L’Image, Perpignan.
  • 2010
    Finalist International Prize of Photojournalism City of Gijon.
    Finalist Roberto Villagraz Scholarship.
    Finalist International Prize Caja España B/N Photography.
  • 2006
    Honorable Mention Albarracin Photo Festival Scholarship.
    Finalist International Prize of Photojournalism City of Gijon.
  • 2005
    Finalist International Prize of Photojournalism City of Gijon.
  • 2003
    1st Place Fujifilm Euro Press Photo Awards, National Feature Category.
  • 2000
    Finalist Francisco Cossio Award of Journalism, Photography Category.


Renowned photographers from all over the world take part in the contest. An independent jury decides upon the winner.

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More information on the competition and the UNICEF-Photo of the Year 2011 reportages.

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