PhotoPhilanthropy Activist Awards

Winners Announced for PhotoPhilanthropy’s 5th Annual Activist Awards

View all submissions to this year’s Activist Awards here.

Photo by Andri Tambunan on behalf of Klinik Kalvari

Andri Tambunan, a Jakarta-based photographer, was named winner of the 5th annual Activist Awards in the professional category for his photo essay, Against All Odds: The HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Papua, shot on behalf of the NGO Klinik Kalvari.

The live-judging event took place on March 8, 2014 in San Francisco with renowned photojournalist and filmmaker Ed Kashi serving as Master of Ceremonies. The event was also live-streamed and viewed across the world.

Against All Odds investigates the causes of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Papua, Indonesia and documents the hardships, struggles, and triumphs of the indigenous Papuans who are facing the epidemic head on.

Klinik Kalvari provides quality health care at low or no cost for illnesses and diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS.

When making their selection, the Awards judges noted the difficulty in getting information and photographs out of Papua, a small province in Indonesia which for many years barred entry of foreign journalists and NGOs.

The two finalists in the professional category were Moises Saman for his photo essay, Nowhere People: The Refugees of Syria shot on behalf of Save the Children and Khaled Hasan for his project Leave Me Alone: Acid Victim in Bangladesh shot on behalf of Oxfam GB.

Photo by Matthieu Zellweger on behalf of International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease and AIDS Partners

Matthieu Zellweger was named the winner in the Amateur category for his project, From Burma with (Infected) Love, shot on behalf of International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease and AIDS Partners. The two finalists in the Amateur category were Leslie Alsheimer for her project, A Moment in the Glass: The Secret Life of Uganda’s Daughters, shot on behalf of Soft Power Health and Darya Komleva for her project The Blue Leopard Lives Here, shot on behalf of Karaganda Regional Ecological Museum in Kazakhstan.

Photo by Turjoy Chowdhury on behalf of Bridge Club International Organization / Bridge Club of Bangladesh

Turjoy Chowdhury, was named the winner in the Student category for his project, Savar Tragedy, that documents the aftermath of an eight-story commercial building that collapsed in Savar, Dhaka in 2013 killing 1,127 workers and wounding 3,000 more. Chowdury’s project was shot on behalf of Bridge Club International Organization / Bridge Club of Bangladesh. The two finalists in the Student category were Jekaterina Saveljeva for her photo essay Left Behind: The Plight of Tanzania’s Orphans shot on behalf of Simon Cumbers Media Fund and Magda Rakita for her project West Point Girls shot on behalf of More Than Me in Liberia.

Judges for this year’s Activist Awards were:

Ed Kashi, photojournalist and filmmaker, member of VII Photo, who also served as the Awards Master of Ceremonies.

Carroll Bogert, Deputy Executive Director for External Relations for Human Rights Watch.

Richard Koci Hernandez, Emmy award winning video and multimedia producer and photojournalist and Assistant Professor at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

James Wellford, photo editor and curator and former Senior International Photo Editor at Newsweek Magazine.

Amy Yenkin, Director of the Documentary Photography Project at Open Society Foundations.

Oren Ziv, a documentary and news photographer and co-founder of the Israeli/Palestinian photo collective ActiveStills.

About the Activist Awards:

PhotoPhilanthropy’s Activist Awards recognize outstanding documentary photography done on behalf of nonprofit organizations worldwide. PhotoPhilanthropy solicits experts in the field to judge entries submitted by professional, amateur and student photographers. The prizes range from $2,000-$15,000. The Activist Awards to date have garnered submissions from more than 600 photographers on behalf of more than 500 nonprofit organizations from more than 90 different countries.

The winning entries and other submissions to the Activist Awards will be considered for PhotoPhilanthropy’s exhibition program and will be reviewed by the Library of Congress for possible inclusion in their collection.

Photo by Moises Saman on behalf of Save the Children

Photo by Khaled Hasan on behalf of Oxfam GB

Photo by Leslie Alsheimer on behalf of Soft Power Health

Photo by Darya Komleva on behalf of Karaganda Regional Ecological Museum

Photo by Jekaterina Saveljeva on behalf of Simon Cumbers Media Fund

Photo by Magda Rakita on behalf of More Than Me

2013 Activist Awards Guidelines:

Submission period: October 1 – November 15, 2013

The PhotoPhilanthropy Activist Awards identify outstanding work done by photographers in collaboration with nonprofit organizations worldwide, with prizes ranging from $2,000-$15,000.

For the first time in the history of the awards, PhotoPhilanthropy is offering this year a mobile photography award in addition to its traditional professional, amateur, and student category awards for most compelling documentary photography essays completed on behalf of nonprofits.

Since the Activist Award’s inception in 2009, PhotoPhilanthropy has received work from over 500 photographers in 88 different countries, showcasing the work of 435 nonprofit organizations.

Categories and Prizes

Photo essays must be entered into one of three categories:

  • Professional Photographer –  $15,000 Grand Prize: Any individual who earns the majority of their living from photography or has been professionally trained.
  • Amateur Photographer – $2,000 Grand Prize: Any individual who does not earn the majority of their income from photography.
  • Student Photographer – $2,000 Grand Prize: Any current student with less than two years of professional work including internships.
Special category:
  • Mobile Photography Award – $2,000 Grand Prize: Open to all photographers irrespective of their skill level.

Each photographer whose work is accepted receives a page on our website and exposure to a a growing audience of committed photographers and concerned global citizens.

Entries will be judged in two rounds by a distinguished Activist Awards Jury with the finalists and winners announced in March 2014. This year, renowned photojournalist Ed Kashi will be the Activist Awards’ Master of Ceremonies. Mr. Kashi has been working in multimedia, short films, and mobile photography in his advocacy work as visual storyteller. In his chairing role, he will steer the conversation about the dramatically changing landscape of photography and how it relates to traditional documentary practice and social advocacy.

Additional Information

Winning Tips for Submitting to Photo Contests

Ami Vitale is an award-winning photojournalist whose long and distinguished career has taken her to more than 85 countries, and garnered her exhibitions and assignments worldwide. She’s also spent considerable time entering her images and serving as a judge for numerous photo contests including PhotoPhilanthropy’s 2010 Activist Awards. Her work has won multiple awards from World Press Photo, POYi, and The Lucie Awards, among others.

In a recent conversation with PhotoShelter co-founder Allen Murabayashi, Ami shares her key tips and insights for submitting work to photo contests, including:

  • Which contests are worth your time and effort
  • The most common mistakes photographers make when submitting work
  • The importance of properly researching contests and tailoring your submission
  • How to determine the right photo contest for you

Watch Ami’s webinar here:

Winning Tips for Submitting to Photo Contests with Ami Vitale from on Vimeo.

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