Health is not something you earn, but a gift to be grateful for. With this attitude, young volunteers from Russia and Germany try to make the everyday life of children a bit more joyful, affectionate and suitable for children in the state institution of Pawlowsk near the Russian city of St. Petersburg.

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In Russia, physically and mentally handicapped children are still sent to state institutions. Human contact, affection, stimulation and encouragement are rare in such institutions, not least because of the lack of staff but also because often they do not have the right attitude towards the children. Many foster children are lonely and no one gets them out of their beds. German photographer Gordon Welters watched the volunteers with great respect while they assisted the children with hygiene, changed their diapers, provided them with medicine, helped them eat, played games with them or organized trips to the seaside. Not the easiest of tasks. Nevertheless, the young volunteers of “Perspektiven e. V.” are convinced that they are able to give back some joy and hope to these children who have been left alone and cast out by society.

Curriculum Vitae: Gordon Welters (laif)

UNICEF-Photo of the Year Gordon Welters. © Ines John

Gordon Welters is a German photographer, who is specialised in documentary and portrait photography. In 2003/2004 Gordon studied photo journalism at London College of Communication. Since 2006 he is represented by photo agency laif and became a contributing photographer to Redux Pictures in 2012. From 2009 on he regularly works for The New York Times and for national and international magazines, newspapers and also non-government organizations including stern, Der Spiegel, National Geographic, chrismon, NRC Handelsblad, Die Zeit, UNHCR, Greenpeace and medico international.

His work regularly receives awards and praise in German and international photography competitions, including Hansel-Mieth-Prize, Sony World Photography Award, PDN Award, International Photography Award and UNICEF Photo of the Year.

For his reportages Gordon travelled to Palestine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Senegal, Tanzania, Cuba, Canada and across Europe. He organizes and leads different workshops about photography.

With a passion for the committed documentary photography Gordon works on projects about people on the margins of society and tells in sensitive and emotional stories about humanity. 


More information on the competition and the UNICEF-Photo of the Year 2013 reportages.

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WINNERS 2000-2012

Please find all the award winners of the previous years and their photo series at