UNICEF-Photo of the Year


Each year, UNICEF Germany grants 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 grants 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. Every two years the best photos of the contest are presented at the photographic industry fair “Photokina” in Cologne titled “Children. The presence of the future”

„Good photos break the arbitrary flood of images. They make us pause for a moment and look closely”, says Dr. Jürgen Heraeus, Chair of UNICEF Germany. “The photos of the contest do not just illustrate reality but take us to the world of children. Some photos describe their plight, their desperation and others show their happiness and dreams. Documenting what it means to be a child reminds us of our common global responsibility to care and advocate for their rights.” To ensure the comparability of submitted images for the jury, all photos are printed on a uniform format and paper. Epson prints both the pictures for the jury and the exhibition for the "UNICEF Photo of the Year" in the Haus der Bundespressekonferenz in Berlin. "UNICEF Photo of the Year" is supported by DZ Bank.

The participants

Since 2000 renowned photographers from all over the world have taken part in the contest. Photographers from more than 80 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 2000-2016

A recommendation from an internationally renowned photography expert is the prerequisite for taking part in the competition. The award is announced annually. Participation in the contest is not possible without a nomination.

The jury 2017

The award of the prize “UNICEF Photo of the Year” will be decided upon by an independent jury headed by Professor Klaus Honnef, art historian and publicist.

Jury UNICEF-Photo of the Year

The jury (from left to right): Prof. Rolf Nobel, Head of the Faculty of Photography, University of Applied Sciences for Design and Media, Hannover; Maria Mann, Director of International Relations & Business Development, epa - european pressphoto agency; Ute Noll, gallery owner Uno Art Space, Photo Director „Du“ Magazine; Peter-Matthias-Gaede, Board member of the German Committee of UNICEF; Lutz Fischmann, Managing Director of Freelens e.V.; Christian-Matthias Pohlert, head of the FAZ photographic editorial department.
© UNICEF Germany/Tamara Soliz

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. All entries are anonymized shown in the jury session.

The nominating photo experts

Among the nominating photo experts are representatives of news agencies such as EPA (European Press Agency), Thompson-Reuters as well as photo agencies such as VII, Getty Images, laif, Focus, Drik/Majorityworld and several more in this year for example 4plus.org. Additionally, there are experts from renowned academies of photography such as Hannover, Germany and the Danish School of Photojournalism as well as internationally well-known photographers. They are characterized by international expertise as well as high awareness of ethical standards of photojournalism. All nominating experts 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 2017 reportages.

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Iranian Photographer Arez Ghaderi is the winner of the competition in 2016.

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