September 6, 2012 4:59 PM EDT

On Thursday, Getty Images awarded $80,000 in grants supporting the work of four international photojournalists. Bharat Choudhary, Kosuke Okahara, Paolo Marchetti and Sebastian Liste each received $20,000 prizes and editorial support as winners of the 2012 Getty Grants for Editorial Photography. An additional $20,000 was also pledged to the Chris Hondros Fund in order to further support photojournalism and public awareness initiatives through an award given to Andrea Bruce and Dominic Bracco in June.

Announced at Visa pour l’Image, the annual festival of photojournalism held in Perpignan, France, the grants—first established in 2004—aim to “enable emerging and established photojournalists to pursue projects of personal and editorial merit, focusing attention on significant social and cultural issues.”

This year’s panel of judges, including Whitney Johnson (Director of Photography, The New Yorker), Jean-Francois Leroy (Director, Visa pour l’Image), Barbara Griffin (Turner Broadcasting Systems), Kira Pollack (Director of Photography, TIME) and photographer Stephanie Sinclair, sorted through 328 story proposals from 60 countries, eventually narrowing in on four projects. According to Aidan Sullivan, Vice President of Assignments at Getty, these four winning projects “deal with a range of compelling and multifaceted issues, from the devastation caused by the Japanese natural disasters to modern day slavery in Brazil.”

Bharat Choudhary, an Indian photographer based in London, was recognized for his project, The Silence of Others, which aims to explore the societal and cultural alienation of Muslim youth in France. His project initially began two years ago by examining the ‘Islamophobia’ of aspects of American and British life. The grant will allow Choudhary to continue his project, delving further into specific triggers inherent to French society.

Four years ago, Paolo Marchetti began FEVER – The Awakening of European Fascism after noticing a resurgence of interest in extreme right-wing politics. The Rome-based photographer has documented the exponential growth of citizens fleeing their own country in the wake of the Arab Spring. Marchetti will expand the project to other European countries with the award funds.

Tokyo-based photographer Kosuke Okahara documented the devastation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant following the earthquake that struck Japan in March 2011. The grant will help Okahara continue Fragments/Fukushima as he investigates the true meaning of the disaster upon the world’s populations through images and audio interviews.

Sebastian Liste‘s project, The Brazilian Far West, explores the inequalities caused by Brazil’s slow and gradual abolition of slavery, particularly affecting the plight of peasants. Liste, a Spaniard, plans to create a multimedia map illustrating the origins of Brazilian inequality and violence, utilizing photography, video and first person interviews to draw attention to the effects caused by 4% of Brazil’s landowners controlling 80% of the country’s arable land.

The Getty Images Grants for Editorial Photography are awarded each year. The projects of past recipients may be viewed here.

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