MEERI KOUTANIEMI, FINLAND

KENYA: ROBBED OF PLEASURE AND JOY

Approx. 130 million women and girls worldwide have undergone the brutal archaic practice of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C). Although internationally recognized as a violation of human rights in general and women’s rights to self-determination in particular, FGM/C is still practiced in many African countries such as Kenya.

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Finnish photographer Meeri Koutaniemi has filed a report about the stepsisters Nasirian and Isina who are members of the Maasai tribe and victims of a tradition that is still practiced, despite being banned by the Kenyan government. From their families’ point of view, it is an initiation ceremony that the two 14-year-olds have to obey.

Only very rarely girls dare to flee from this horrific tradition. Girls such as Elisabeth Hkere, a young Maasai whose fate the photographer reported in an earlier photo series. Elisabeth was nine when she ran away. It was an act of sheer despair that required incredible courage.

Meeri Koutaniemi was born in Lapland and lives in Finland’s capital Helsinki. She has published photo series on social topics in more than 20 countries and is a member of Echo agency and the Finish Group 11. She has won several awards and has worked for a number of large international magazines. Female genital mutilation is currently her main topic.

Curriculum Vitae: Meeri Koutaniemi (Echo)

UNICEF Photo of the Year Meeri Koutaniemi

Current Job
2007 Freelance Photographer & Journalist & Cinematographer
08/2012 Founder Member, Echo Photo Agency, Italy
08/2011 Founder Member, Collective 11, Finland

Worked in the follwoign countries
Argentina / Austria / Bhutan / Brazil / Bolivia / Burma / Cambodia / Chile / Ghana / Germany /Georgia / Germany / Greece / Guatemala / Ethiopia / Finland / India / Israel / Lebanon / Jordan / Kenya / Montenegro / Macedonia / Mexico / Namibia / Nepal / Nicaragua / Niger / Palestine / Thailand / Serbia / Slovenia / Somaliland / Uganda / United States

Awards

09/2014 Winner, Visa D'or Daily Press Award, Vida Pour L'image, Perpignan, France

06/2014 Winner, FreeLens Award, Lumix Photo Festival, Germany

03/2014 Winner, Photographer of the Year, Annual Press Photo Competition, Finland

03/2014 Winner, Foreign Reportage of the Year, Annual Press Photo Competition, Finland

06/2013 Carina Appel Memorial Award, Finland

03/2013 Photojournalism Award for Collective 11, Patricia Seppälä Foundation, Finland

03/2013 Winner, Photographer of the Year, Annual Press Photo Competition, Finland

03/2013 Winner, Multimedia of the Year, Annual Press Photo Competition, Finland

03/2013 Winner, Photo of the Year, Annual Press Photo Competition, Finland

03/2013 Winner, Foreign Reportage of the Year, Annual Press Photo Competition, Finland

03/2013 Winner, Portrait of the Year, Annual Press Photo Competition, Finland

10/2012 Tim Hetherington Memorial Award, USA

03/2012 Winner, Portrait of the Year, Annual Press Photo Competition, Finland

03/2012 Honor Mention in the category Foreign Reportage, Annual Press Photo Competition, Finland

03/2012 Finalist for Photographer of the Year, Finland

09/2003 4. Price, Kuusamo Nature Photo, Finland

Photo Exhibitions

10/2014 Festival della fotografia Etica, Taken, Lodi, Italy

10/2014 Center of Kamppi, Vapaita Unelmia (Freed Dreams), Helsinki, Finland

09/2014 Freelens Gallery, Taken, Hamburg, Germany

06/2014 Lumix Photo Festival for Young Photojournalism, Hannover, Germany

06/2014 Galleri Zebra, Kaukana kotoa (Far from Home), Karjaa, Finland

02/2014 Kuusamotalo, Faces of Mali, Kuusamo, Finland

10 – 11/2013 Fourth Image, Oasis, Paris, France

09 – 10/2013 Sanomatalo, Kaukana kotoa: Tabareybareyn tytöt (Far from Home: the girls of Tabareybarey), Helsinki, Finland

09 – 10/2013 Think Company, Re-customized; Decolonized, Helsinki, Finland

09 – 10/2013 Rajala Pro Shop, Oasis, Helsinki, Finland

08/2013 Kaakkois-Suomen valokuvakeskus, Oasis, Lappeenranta, Finland

03/2013 The Center for Fine Art Photography, Re/customized; De/Colonized, United States

02/2013 – 05/2013 The Photography Museum of Finland, Suomi / Finland, Collective 11, Helsinki

12/2012 – 03/2013 Korjaamo, Oasis, Helsinki

12/2012 TRI, Suomi (Finland) by Collective 11, Tampere, Finland

09/2012 Kind of Blue, Re-customized; De-colonized, Copenhagen, Denmark

05 – 06/2012 Kotkan valokuvakeskus, Siirtolaisena kolmella mantereella (As an immigrant in three continents), together with Kukka Ranta, Kotka

05 – 07/2012 Pasifico, Perintö (Tradition), Helsinki, Finland

01/2012 Kaamosgalleria, Omalla paikallaan kolmella mantereella (In my place in three continents), Kuusamo, Finland

09/2011 – 12/2011 Konst Hair & Gallery, Las peluquerias en la peluqueria / Parturit parturissa (Hairdressers in hairsalon), Helsinki, Finland

01/2009 Kuusamo Hall, Kaamos Gallery, Meeri Koutaniemen kuvia Intiasta ja Väli-Amerikasta (Meeri Koutaniemi’s photos from India and Central America), Kuusamo, Finland

08/2008 Old Student House, Kahdella matkalla (Two journeys), Helsinki

05/2007 Culture and Art Center of Annantalo, Dalit – varjoton (Dalit – without a shadow), Helsinki, Finland

Workshops and Courses

11/2014 Joop Swart Masterclass, Amsterdam, Netherlands

09/2014 VII Masterclass, Milano, Italy

10/2012 Eddie Adams Workshop, NY, USA

11/2009 Red Cross, Humanitarian law, Tampere

PHOTO OF THE YEAR 2014

More information on the competition and the UNICEF-Photo of the Year 2014 reportages.

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PREVIOUS YEARS

More information on the competition and the winners of the previous years.

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