Winners of Yannis Behrakis 2022 and Athens Photo World 2022 Awards
Winners of the two Athens Photo World 2022 contests were announced yesterday, Sunday May 29, at a special event held at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) in Athens: “Yannis Behrakis” International Photojournalism Award, honoring the work and memory of the great Greek photojournalist prematurely lost and «Athens Photo World» Award which is granted every year to a photojournalisi (regardless nationality) living and working in Greece or/and Cyprus.
This year’s big winners are Associated Press Ukranian photographer Evgeniy Maloletka with «War in Mariupol» and Greek photographer Michalis Patsouras with his «Still Human» project. Winners will get a cash prize of 15.000€ and 5.000€ respectively.
Athens Photo World managed to keep the contests alive during the last four year, despite adversities brought internationally by the COVID-19 pandemic and thanks to a grant by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) organized and held the contests for a fourth year in a row, honoring both Behrakis vision and the team’s members wish to help and encourage photojournalist in Greece and worldwide.
Runner ups for the Yannis Behrakis 2022 (#ΥΒΙΡΑ2022) were also Khalil Hamra with “Gaza’s Never Ending War” and Mexico based French photographer Mahé Elipe with “Niñas’ rebellion”.
Runner ups for Athens Photo World Award 2022 (#APWA2022) were Athens based American photographer Byron Smith with “Testament ‘22” and World Press Photo Regional winner for Europe Κonstantinos Tsakalidis with “Evia on Fire”. Tsakalidis’ winning World Press Photo photograph is also exhibited at the World Press Photo Exhibition 2022 at the Ground floor of the National Library of Greece at the same venue.
The two runner ups for Athens Photo World Award will receive one assignement with the Greek branch of Medecins Sans Frontieres and a Drone DJI Mavic Combo from Galaios Photostoresrespectively.
This year for the second time the Yannis Behrakis Award jury decided to grant a honorable mention to a fourth project, honoring the memory of Pulitzer Awarded Indian photographer Danish Siddiqui who was killed on 16 July 2021 while covering the conflicts between the Afghan security forces and the Taliban near the borders with Pakistan.
YBIPA’s big winner Evgeniy (Zhenya ) Maloletka stated:
«For me, the war in Ukraine started 8 years ago, when I worked as a photographer during euromaidan protest, in Crimea in March 2014, and then in Donbass. During the first 2 years of the war I was in various dangerous situations, but it cannot be compared to what I had to seen this year.
Before the war started, Mstislav Chernov and I decided that Mariupol was the place to be in case something happened. On the evening of February 23rd everything became clear. We started driving to Mariupol and passed by the road near the front line. In the area that remained tense in the last days, we heard nothing but silence. When we arrived in Mariupol at 3.30am and after a long day driving, we stopped to have some rest, about one hour later, the war began.
Putin declared the beginning of the invasion while rockets started falling in the outskirts of the city. I stayed up for another 24 hours. The day was as stressful as the months to come.
We were the only team of international journalists that decided to stay in the city under attack.
During our 20 days in Mariupol, we witnessed war crimes, air strikes, and atrocities against civilians committed by the Russian forces. It was important for me to show to the country and to the world the suffering, fear and pain of the Ukrainians.
I often ask myself: “Why? Why? Why?”, the same question asked Marina Yatsko with tears in her eyes, while touching the fingers of her son Kirill, whose body lied on a stretch of the hospital. The little boy was only 18 months old, he was killed during a shelling, doctors tried but could not save his life.
“Who will bring our children back to us? Who…?” – sitting on the floor in the corridor of the hospital with her baby in her arms, said Anastasia Yerashova, her child and her brother’s child were killed in a basement, where they run to take shelter.
On March 9 an airstrike destroyed the Maternity Hospital No.3.
Irina, 31y.o. a wounded pregnant woman, was carried by rescue workers and policemen in a stretcher with a red blanket under her back, I remember…she was alive. They rushed to take her to the ambulance while passing by the debris of buildings, smashed cars, fallen trees and destruction. The next day this picture was everywhere, and the whole world knew about the maternity hospital. On March 11 we learned that Irina and her baby didn’t survived.
I had seen a lot of human suffering before Mariupol, but I had never seen so many children killed in one single place in such a short period of time.
Since it was impossible for people to communicate with the residents of Mariupol, and after the publication of my pictures, I started receiving hundreds of messages through social media of people asking me to try to find their relatives and friends. I did want to do something to help, but I could not. The security situation and the constant attacks were limiting what we could do.
The tragedy of Mariupol will forever remain like a big scar on my body and my heart, but at the same time I feel that the work we did, documenting the horror of the war, will help the world to understand what happened in Ukraine and will bring justice to the thousands killed in a senseless war.
I want to thank the jury for choosing me to receive the Yannis Behrakis Award. It inspires me and makes me feel that I am on the right path with the work I have done and I want to keep doing. It confirms how important photojournalism is to show the truth about the horror of war in Ukraine. I think it’s also the way recognize not only my work but the work of all journalists especially Ukranians, trying to tell the world what’s happening in our country».
Elisavet Saridou Behrakis, Chair without vote of the Jury said on Maloletka’s work «The whole world is breathlessly watching what is happening in Ukraine. Devastation, death, pain, fear. Yannis would have been there. He always said the it is harder to cover a war, a crisis in your own country. This is exactly what Evgeniy Maloletka was asked to do. For more than two weeks he documented the siege of Mariupol. He risked his life in order to become our eyes and the voice of those persecuted. Of those that did not have the time to take their first breath»
Corinne Dufka, photojournalist and West Africa Director at Human Rights Watch, member of the jury stated “This year, we have the pleasure of honoring Ukrainian photojournalist Evgeniy Maloletka with the Yannis Bahrakis International Photojournalism Award for his compelling and extraordinary images from the siege of Mariupol. My fellow judges Yunghi Kim, Dusan Vranic and I were impressed by the profound courage under fire that he demonstrated in telling the stories of Ukrainians whose lives were torn apart and devasted by war. His images – of wounded civilians, grieving parents, destroyed homes, and hurried funerals – tell a story of suffering few of us can even begin to fathom. We are incredibly grateful for the sacrifices Evgeniy took to tell the story of Mariupol, and to do so with such grace, immediacy, and humanity.
We also honor runners-up Khalil Hamra, whose images of Gaza’s 2021 violence take us and hold us, as he explores people’s pain, struggle, and loss. And Mahé Elipe’s compelling and urgent story of young women in Mexico standing up against an epidemic of violence against women and girls with grace, defiance, and love. Lastly, we recognize with an honorable mention Danish Siddiqui for his intimate portrayal of the devastating impact of COVID-19 in his native India, and for his moving and powerful images of the Taliban’s reconquest of Afghanistan for which he, tragically, made the ultimate sacrifice.
Each one of these photojournalists exemplifies what Yannis lived and fought for: exposing the struggles of ordinary people trying to live their lives and love their families in the context of poverty, conflict, and violence”.
On the Athens Photo World Award finalists, photojournalist and Assistant Professor at the Photography and Audiovisual Arts Department of the University of West Attica, member of the contest jury said “If the photographers’ approaches to human misery are similar it is because human misery gives birth to more or less the same feelings in all of us.
However, it seems to me an obscene luxury for the photographer to use misery as a “canvas” to quote his high-level artistic quest.
In any case, I prefer the photographer who approaches his subject directly, who is not “detached” from the happenings, who takes a stand, who gets angry, who cries.
With these criteria (*) my personal choice of photographers and their works for this year’s awards was made.
For this journey to the “heart of darkness” I thank them from the bottom of my heart”.
Athens Photo World 2022 is made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), in collaboration with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre (SNFCC), financial support by the Ministry of Culture and Sports and the support of the City of Athens, OPANDA, The National Garden, Athens Concert Hall, the Municipalities of Ellinikon-Argyroupoli, Peristeri and Halandri, the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, the University of West Attica, Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos” and Samsung Electronics Greece, AON and Galaios Photostore.
Athens Photo World organizing team are:
Thanassis Stavrakis: AP Chief Photographer for Greece, Cyprus, Albania and N.Macedonia, APW Artistic Director
Lefteris Pitarakis: AP videographer-photojournalist, APW Curator
Yannis Kolesidis: AMNA photographer – photojournalist based in Athens,
Christina Kalligianni: photographer, PhD candidate at Panteion University, APW project coordinator