UNICEF-Photo of the Year


Each year, UNICEF Germany has awarded the “UNICEF Photo of the Year Award” to photos and photo series that best depict the personality and living conditions of children all around the world. The award of the prize “UNICEF Photo of the Year” will be decided upon by an independent jury.

The contest

Each year since 2000, UNICEF Germany has awarded 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. Only professional photographers are eligible for this contest and they have to be recommended by internationally renowned photography experts. 

"High-quality documentary photography can open eyes. The work, which is awarded annually in the UNICEF photo contest, succeeds in exactly this way: It opens one’s eyes to the situation of children in our world", says Georg Graf Waldersee, Chairman of UNICEF Germany. "The pictures show children's fates, honest and sincere, some ruthless and some full of hope. They are a powerful appeal for empathy and compassion, reminding us of our shared mission: to work for the well-being of the children worldwide." 

To ensure the comparability of submitted images for the jury, all photos are printed on a uniform format and paper. Epson Germany prints both the pictures for the jury (except in 2020) and the exhibition for the "UNICEF Photo of the Year" in the Haus der Bundespressekonferenz in Berlin. All entries are anonymized shown in the jury session.

The participants

Photographers from more than 90 nations and all five continents have so far been awarded. With individual photos or photo series they document the living conditions of children who are in difficult circumstances such as war, material and emotional distress, after natural disasters. However, they also portray moments of happiness, joy of living and facets of their different everyday lives.

Winners of the Years 2000-2019

The jury 2020

The award of the prize “UNICEF Photo of the Year” was decided upon by an independent jury headed by Professor Klaus Honnef, art and photography academic.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year's jury meeting was held for the first time in digital form. The members of the jury  signed up for this in the virtual meeting via zoom to discuss and award the winners of the "UNICEF Photo of the year 2020".

Jury UNICEF-Photo of the Year 2020

UNICEF Photo of the Year Project team and the jury (from left to right): Caroline Dohmen, Press Department UNICEF; Elisabeth Sachse-Grimm, Documentation Department UNICEF; Peter-Matthias Gaede, Deputy Chairman German Committe of UNICEF and former long term Editor-in-chief of GEO Germany; Jutta Schein, deputy head of the photo editorial office DIE ZEIT; Prof. Klaus Honnef, art historian and publicist; Angela Rupprecht, concept UNICEF Photo of the year; Katharina Kesper, Press Department UNICEF; Ute Noll, Gallery Owner Uno Art Space, Photo Director „DU“ Magazine; Bernd von Jutrczenka, Chief Correspondent Photo, dpa; Tamara Soliz, Designwork Cologne.

Well-known photo experts from the field of photo journalism and fine arts form the jury. The jury is independent of UNICEF and the nominating experts. It selects photojournalistic reportages and documentations that render outstanding services to aesthetical and journalistic quality as well as respect for children and their living conditions.

The nominating photo experts

Among the nominating photo experts are representatives of news agencies such as EPA (European Pressphoto Agency), Thompson-Reuters as well as photo agencies such as VII agency, laif, Agence VU, Drik/Pathshala and several more. Additionally, there are experts from renowned academies of photography such as the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hannover and Dortmund, Germany and the Danish School of Photojournalism as well as internationally well-known photographers, such as this year's photgraphers Hashem Shakeri, Laura Boushnak and photo editor Sherri Dougherty. All experts are characterized by international expertise as well as high awareness of ethical standards of photojournalism and documentary photography. They have pertinent contacts to photographers working worldwide and are well-known for high-level education and promotion in the field of international photojournalism. Many thanks to all of them.

Information on copyrights

"UNICEF Photo of the Year" is a UNICEF project. The intellectual property rights and rights of use to the images used on this website are reserved to the photographers.

The images available for download may only be used for media reporting purposes in relation to the project "UNICEF Photo of the Year" and for the general advancement of UNICEF and its activities. Any image used may not be altered and may only be published together with the appropriate credit to the photographer.

Any use of the images hosted on the UNICEF website other than as described in the foregoing paragraph requires the express written permission of the photographer.

All unauthorized use of the images is strictly prohibited and will lead to the appropriate legal action being taken.


More information on the competition and the UNICEF Photo of the Year 2020 reportages.

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More information on the competition and the UNICEF Photo of the Year 2019 reportages.

Read more