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US female photojournalist wins award for courage

International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award 2018 winner Andrea Bruce. Portrait taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II with a Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens. © Jonathan Levinson

Former Washington Post photographer Andrea Bruce has won the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award 2018, with honourable mentions to Canon shooter Amber Bracken and Rebecca Conway.

Winner Andrea Bruce (pictured above) is an American documentary photographer whose work focuses on people living in the aftermath of war, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan. For eight years, Andrea was a staff photographer at The Washington Post and wrote the column Unseen Iraq, which explored the lives of the Iraqi people and the US military.

An elderly woman stands at a colourful shrine’s door, in India.
Kashmiri worshipper Hameeda Rena, 70, holds on to a brass plate bearing a verse of the Quran as she offers prayers for her family at a door to the Shah-i-Hamdan Shrine on the banks of the Jhelum River in Srinagar, India, on 3 December 3 2015. Many Kashmiris seek solace in shrines dedicated to auspicious saints or put their trust in faith healers, who bless potions and offer recitations or amulets thought to bring powers of protection. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a Canon EF 35mm f/2 lens. © Rebecca Conway

She was celebrated at a ceremony in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, at the close of the World Press Photo Festival, during which she was recognised for her empathy, her emotional connection with subjects, and for the dignity that shines through in her portfolio. Juror Eman Mohammed noted that Andrea “was always inspiring others within the field to step up.”

Bruce was chosen from among 136 nominations, the highest since the programme began four years ago. She follows a prestigious line of previous IWMF winners, who include Canon shooters Stephanie Sinclair and Nicole Tung.

A career in photojournalism is possible without compromising who you are as a person.

The Anja Award honors women journalists who document crucial stories in challenging environments while capturing poignant moments of humanity. It was established in honour of German AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2014. Anja Niedringhaus was a recipient of the IWMF Courage in Journalism Award in 2005.

Bruce said that Neidringhaus's dedication, passion and purpose helped give her the courage to continue her work. "It is an enormous honor to suddenly be given the opportunity to help carry her legacy forward and to be part of the IWMF's wonderful work," she said. "I can only hope to be half as successful as Anja was in showing the female photographers of tomorrow that a career in photojournalism is possible without compromising who you are as a person."

A woman tilts her head forward in a dark portrait.
"I don't want to be killed here. I came here to live with my children and my children's children," says Vonda Long, descendant of High Hawk, who was killed in the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre." Taken on 13 November 2016, on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens. © Amber Bracken

Amber Bracken received an honorable mention, with the jury noting the incredible perseverance evident in Amber's work along with her fresh and memorable look at indigenous peoples of her home region and beyond.

British photojournalist Rebecca Conway also received an honorable mention. She is based in New Delhi and known for capturing the long-simmering conflict in Kashmir and its effects on local civilians.

"Women journalists have long been vulnerable to work-related harassment and other dangers that we are just now starting to talk about," said Elisa Lees Muñoz, Executive Director of the IWMF. "This award is about honoring those who operate in areas of greatest risk yet stay laser focused on those who, as they will tell you, are the real heroes."

Autor: Emma-Lily Pendleton


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