UNICEF-Photo of the Year

UNICEF Photo of the Year

The internationally renowned ‘UNICEF Photo of the Year’ contest is aimed at professional photographers from all over the world. An independent jury of photography experts chooses the winner. This year’s contest was once again conceived and directed by Angela Rupprecht.

The Contest

Each year since 2000, UNICEF Germany has awarded the ‘UNICEF Photo of the Year’ award to photos and photo series that depict the personalities and living conditions of children worldwide in an outstanding manner. Only professional photographers are eligible for this contest.

“High-quality documentary photography can open people’s eyes. Each year, the winning photos from the UNICEF photo contest do exactly that: they open our eyes to the predicaments of children all around the world,” says Georg Graf Waldersee, Chairman of UNICEF Germany. “They show children’s fates, honestly and sincerely, sometimes full of pain and sometimes 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 children worldwide.”

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the jury session has been held online. To ensure that the jury can properly compare the submitted images, all photos and their associated information are displayed in a standardized presentation format. All entries are also anonymized for the jury session.

As a partner of the contest, Epson Germany provides high-quality printouts of the pictures for the annual exhibition of the ‘UNICEF Photo of the Year’ in the Haus der Bundespressekonferenz in Berlin. The photo series will then be exhibited again by the Freundeskreis Willy-Brandt-Haus e.V. and also shown in the Museum Schleswig.

The Participants

Photojournalists from over 95 nations and all continents have received awards since 2000. In individual photos or in photo series, they document the living conditions of children and young people who have to live in the most challenging conditions: in war, in material or emotional hardship, in the wake of natural disasters. However, they also show moments of happiness, joy, and different facets of the everyday lives of children from all over the world. To be eligible for this contest, the photos must be recommended by internationally renowned photography experts.

The Winning Images From 2000-2021

Country of the lost children. © Matias Costa/Freelance photographer

Bild 1 von 22 | "Country of the lost children" by Matias Costa/Freelance photographer

© Matias Costa/Freelance photographer
Siviani on the sofa. © Meredith Davenport/Freelance photographer

Bild 2 von 22 | "Siviani on the sofa" by Meredith Davenport/Freelance photographer

© Meredith Davenport/Freelance photographer
Forgotten Refugees of the World. © Jan Grarup/Politiken/Noor

Bild 3 von 22 | "Forgotten Refugees of the World" by Jan Grarup/Politiken/Noor

© Jan Grarup/Politiken/Noor
Bound to El Norte. © Don Barletti/Los Angeles Times

Bild 4 von 22 | "Bound to El Norte" by Don Barletti/Los Angeles Times

© Don Barletti/Los Angeles Times
Darfur in Flames. © Marcus Bleasdale/VII

Bild 5 von 22 | "Darfur in Flames" by Marcus Bleasdale/VII

© Marcus Bleasdale/VII
Street children in Odessa. © David John Gillanders/Freelance Photographer

Bild 6 von 22 | "Street children in Odessa" by David John Gillanders/Freelance Photographer

© David John Gillanders/Freelance Photographer
The Kashmir Earthquake. © Jan Grarup/Politiken/Noor

Bild 7 von 22 | "The Kashmir Earthquake" by Jan Grarup/Politiken/Noor

© Jan Grarup/Politiken/Noor
Child brides. © Stephanie Sinclair/VII Network

Bild 8 von 22 | "Child brides" by Stephanie Sinclair/VII Network

© Stephanie Sinclair/VII Network
Surviving in Haiti. © Alice Smeets/Out of Focus

Bild 9 von 22 | "Surviving in Haiti" by Alice Smeets/Out of Focus

© Alice Smeets/Out of Focus
Deadly superstition. © Johan Bävman/Freelance Photographer/Moment

Bild 10 von 22 | "Deadly superstition" by Johan Bävman, Freelance Photographer/Moment

© Johan Bävman/Freelance Photographer/Moment
Vietnam: The legacy of war. © Ed Kashi/VII

Bild 11 von 22 | "Vietnam: The legacy of war" by Ed Kashi/VII

© Ed Kashi/VII
Ghana: Waste export to Africa. © Kai Löffelbein/University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Hannover

Bild 12 von 22 | "Ghana: Waste export to Africa" by Kai Löffelbein/University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Hannover

© Kai Löffelbein/University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Hannover
Syria: Children between the lines. © Alessio Romenzi/Corbis Images Agency

Bild 13 von 22 | "Syria: Children between the lines" by Alessio Romenzi/Corbis Images Agency

© Alessio Romenzi/Corbis Images Agency
Syria's “forgotten” child victims © Niclas Hammarström/Kontinent

Bild 14 von 22 | Syria's "forgotten" child victims by Niclas Hammarström/Kontinent

© Niclas Hammarström/Kontinent
Philippines: Wanna have love!? | © Insa Hagemann and Stefan Finger/laif

Bild 15 von 22 | Philippines: Wanna have love!? by Insa Hagemann and Stefan Finger/laif

© Insa Hagemann and Stefan Finger/laif
Greek-Macedonian border: Utter despair | © Georgi Licovski/epa

Bild 16 von 22 | Greek-Macedonian border: Utter despair by Georgi Licovski/epa

© Georgi Licovski/epa
Iran: Defending the right to smile | © Arez Ghaderi (Freelancer)

Bild 17 von 22 | Iran: Defending the right to smile by Arez Ghaderi

© Arez Ghaderi (Freelancer)
Syria: The face of a tormented childhood. © Muhammed Muheisen/AP/dpa

Bild 18 von 22 | Syria: The face of a tormented childhood by Muhammed Muheisen, AP/dpa

© Muhammed Muheisen/AP/dpa
Togo: Every child matters
Bild 19 von 22 © Antonio Aragón Renuncio, Spain (Freelance Photographer)
Philippines: Garbage, the Children and Death
Bild 20 von 22 © Hartmut Schwarzbach, Germany (Argus Photo Agency)
Lesbos, Griechenland: Die brennende Not

Bild 21 von 22 | "The flames of misery" by Angelos Tzortzinis (AFP)

© Angelos Tzortzinis, Greece (AFP)
India: Drowned hopes

Bild 22 von 22 | India: Drowned hopes

© Supratim Bhattacharjee, India

The 2022 Jury

An independent jury led by art historian and publicist Prof. Klaus Honnef chose the winner of the ‘UNICEF Photo of the Year’.

As in the last two years, the 2022 jury session was once again held online. The virtual format was developed two years ago due to the coronavirus pandemic. After a preliminary voting round, the jury members met again via Zoom to determine the ‘UNICEF Photo of the Year 2022’, the award winners and the honorable mentions. The digital implementation and documentation was carried out with the help of the ‘UNICEF Photo of the Year’ project team.

Jury UNICEF-Photo of the Year 2022

"UNICEF-Photo of the Year"-UNICEF staff & members of the jury (left to right): Daniela Ligori, public relations & coordinator „UNICEF-Photo of the Year“, UNICEF Elisabeth Sachse-Grimm, picture department, UNICEF Angela Rupprecht, project manager “UNICEF-Photo of the Year” Tamara Soliz, designwork cologne Professor Klaus Honnef, art historian and publicist, chairman of the jury „UNICEF-Photo of the Year“ Gisela Kayser, independent curator Ute Noll, gallery owner Uno Art Space, photo director, „DU“ magazine Jutta Schein, deputy head of the picture department, DIE ZEIT newspaper Peter-Matthias Gaede, member of the german committee for UNICEF & long time editor-in-chief of GEO Magazine, Niklas Klütsch, press department, UNICEF Rudi Tarneden, speaker
UNICEF, Bernd von Jutrczenka, chief photo correspondent, dpa


The team consists of renowned photo experts with international expertise in the fields of photojournalism and art history. The jury is independent. Neither UNICEF nor the nominating experts influence it in any way. It selects photos and photo series that stand out for their aesthetic and journalistic quality, as well as for their care, empathy and respect for children and the conditions they have to live in.

The Nominating Photography Experts 2022

The nominating photography experts include representatives of news agencies such as epa (European Pressphoto Agency), dpa (German Press Agency) as well as outstanding photo agencies such as VII Photo Agency, laif, Agence VU, Drik and others. They also include experts from renowned universities for photography such as the Hanover University of Applied Sciences and Arts or the Danish School of Photojournalism, as well as internationally renowned photographers, such as the photographer and winner of an Emmy Award this year, Patrick Brown. Among the nominating experts are also Photo Editors Sherri Dougherty, Mojtaba Abdoulrahimkhan and Svetlana Bachenova. All of them have international expertise and a high awareness of ethical standards in photojournalism and documentary photography. With their contacts to globally active photographers, they also stand for the promotion and development of the highest quality in international photojournalism. We would like to thank all of them for their commitment.

InfoInformation 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.