The Turkish-based Anadolu news agency has announced the winners of the first annual Istanbul Photo Awards.
Daniel Berehulak’s photograph of an eight-year old Ebola victim being carried to a treatment center shortly before his death in Liberia won the top prize, with a jury of nine professional photo editors and photographers finding that this poignant scene underscored the essential power of photojournalism as a relatable form of communication across the globe.
In total, 11 photographers from seven countries received prizes in four categories. The First Place Prize for News Single went to Jerome Sessini for his heart-wrenching photograph of a victim of the Malaysia Airlines MH-17 crash lying in a pastoral wheat field in Eastern Ukraine.
The Second Place Prize went to Turkish photographer Bulent Kilic who captured two Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters nearly engulfed by a fireball after U.S. airstrikes hit their position in the Syrian town of Kobani, directly across the Turkish border. Third Prize went to Fernando Morales for his surreal photograph of a boy receiving treatment for Internet and gaming addiction at a facility in China.
At the conclusion of the deliberations, jury members remarked that these unforgettable images are lasting reminders of the most important news stories of the last year and will remain relevant for years to come: a horrific disease which ravaged Western Africa; a civilian aircraft unwittingly thrust into the Ukrainian conflict, marking a turning point in that war; a retaliation against the threat of ISIS whose horrific acts of aggression shocked the world; and finally, the wholly modern affliction of Internet addiction—a symbol of our escapist compulsions.
Ahmet Sell, the Visual News Editor-in-Chief of the Anadolou Agency, has ambitious goals for the future of photojournalism – both stills and video – at the news agency, and he sees the Istanbul Photo Awards as an important part of that mission. Moving forward, he hopes to bring attention to stories and photographers, most especially in the Middle East.
“There is a strong visual culture in Turkey [and yet] in this region there isn't another photo competition,” he says. This year, for the first edition of the awards, more than 12,000 photographs from 100 countries were submitted.
Judges this year included French photographers Patrick Chauvel and Guillaume Herbault, Michel Scotto of Agence France-Presse, Turkish photojournalist Firat Caglayan, and TIME’s International Photo Editor Alice Gabriner among others.