Winners of IAFOR Documentary Photography Award Announced

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As a proud sponsor of the IAFOR Documentary Photography Award we are pleased to present this year’s winners: Hosam Katan (Grand Prize), Yasmin Balai (2nd Place), and Romain Champalaune (3rd Place).  The IAFOR Documentary Photography Award is a new international photography award which seeks to promote and assist in the professional development of emerging documentary photographers and photojournalists. The Award is supported by The International Academic Forum (IAFOR) – Asia’s Think Tank – and builds off of the strength of the IAFOR Documentary Film Award, now in its fourth year.

The theme for 2015 is “Power.” Photography can have the power to manipulate memories, encourage thought and stimulate emotion, it also has the power to do these things across languages and cultures. The skilled photographer must hold power over their camera and manipulate the power dynamic between photographer and subject. Pointing a camera at someone can be seen as an act of power in itself. This year’s winners explore “Power” from a variety of perspectives.

Grand Prize: “Syria” by Hosam Katan

“My name is Hosam Katan and I am a 21 year old photographer from Syria. I was a student before the civil war in Syria. When the war began in my area I left my school and started take photos for the Aleppo Media Center and documenting events and filming battles. After one year of photographing the conflict in my country, I started working for Reuters. The images in this portfolio document the struggles that people are facing in their daily lives in Syria.”

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Second Place: “Silver Linings” by Yasmin Balai

“Silver Linings is a project that follows a group of altogether around 60 people that inhabit Bucharest’s underground central heating systems next to the main train station ‘Gara de Nord’. Together, they have built something resembling a home, creating a community beyond society. Almost everyone living in the tunnels, built during communism times, is addicted to ‘Pure by Magic’ a synthetic stimulant drug, injected several times a day.”

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Third Place: “Samsung Galaxy” by Romain Champalaune

“After the Korean war (1950-53), South Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world. Yet, less than thirty years later, it became the world’s 15th largest economy. This success can be partly explained by chaebols, huge conglomerates supported by dictator Park Chung-Hee between 1962 and 1979. Established in 1938 by M. Lee Byung-Chul in the city of Daegu, Samsung (which means “Three Stars”) is the largest of those chaebols, and the largest group in South Korea. It represents, directly or indirectly, one-fifth of the GDP. With its growth from a small import-export shop to the flagship of the nation, Samsung embodies Korean economic success.”

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