The city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo has mostly provided us with sad images over the last few decades. Hundreds of thousands of people fled here from the civil war in Rwanda. Troops from the neighboring country repeatedly entered the region to pursue those responsible for the genocide.

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But it got even worse: in 2002, a lava flow from the nearby Nyiragongo volcano advanced on the city. The airport’s runway is still buried under several meters of dried lava. Many families have built emergency shelters on the edge of the overgrown lava fields.

However, the volcano’s eruption also created an exciting adventure playground for the children: well-preserved airplane wrecks. The American photographer Michael Christopher Brown, who has been in many conflict regions before, was not only glad to see such happy children but also hopes to perhaps see something like a lasting peace in Goma soon. Not least because the most influential rebel militia, M-23, declared its defeat after a UN mission with a robust mandate drove back the rebels.

Curriculum Vitae: Michael C. Brown (Magnum Nominee)

UNICEF-Photo of the Year Michael C. Brown

Michael Christopher Brown is based in Brooklyn, New York, and is a Magnum nominee. His current work documents the effects of the ongoing war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In 2011 he documented the Libyan revolution using a phone camera, exploring ethical distance and the iconography of warfare. He was the subject of the 2012 HBO documentary Witness: Libya. Photographs from his work in Libya have been shown at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Instituto Cervantes (New York), The Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), the Annenberg Space for Photography and the Brooklyn Museum. These images will also appear in his forthcoming book Libyan Sugar, to be published this summer by Twin Palms Publishers.


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