Adriane Ohanesian Awarded Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award
Enlarge image Anja Niedringhaus was killed in Afghanistan in 2014. (© Germany.info)
Ambassador Peter Wittig hosted the award ceremony for the Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award last week at the embassy. The prize is presented annually by the International Women in Media Foundation and is endowed by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. Adriane Ohanesian, the 2016 winner, has produced some of the most stunning photos of the continuing conflict in South Sudan. “In honoring the talent, courage, and sacrifice of women photographers telling the essential stories of today, the IWMF helps ensure that these vital voices continue to be heard," said Ambassador Wittig.
Enlarge image The International Women in Media Foundation presented the first Courage in Photojournalism Prize in 2015, following the tragic death of Anja Niedringhaus. (© Germany.info/Zacarias Garcia) Anja Niedringhaus was a German photographer whose coverage of the Iraq War earned her the Pulitzer Prize in 2005. Photographers willing to risk it all to cover conflict regions are rare, and female photographers doing this work are rarer still. Niedringhaus's courage and determination earned her a reputation as one of the best in her field, and the award named in her honor is a testament to women willing to put their lives at stake for what they believe in.
Adriane Ohanesian Wins 2016 Prize
Adriane Ohanesian, who was born in the US but is currently based in Nairobi, Kenya, has only been a photographer since 2006. When accepting the award, she reflected on how difficult it was for her to break into the field, and how her choice to become a conflict photographer was met. On her first trip to South Sudan, she met another photographer covering the same event: a bridge had been bombed right near her hotel. The other photographer, a tall, burly man with years of experience, looked down at her and said, “Little girl, what are you doing here?” After seeing her work there and elsewhere in Sudan, that same photographer never questioned her again.
Enlarge image During the ceremony, Ann Curry (R) interviewed Adriane Ohanesian (C), the prize winner, and Paula Bronstein (L), a runner up, on their experiences working in the field of conflict journalism. (© Germany.info/Zacarias Garcia) “At the end of the day it’s not about me; it’s about the lives of the people in the pictures,” Ohanesian said when she received word on winning the prize. “My photographs document what I’ve seen in isolated areas of the world. I hope the people I photograph feel that these photos communicate their circumstances to the outside world. It takes a massive amount of trust on the part of my subjects to know that I’m accurately representing them and their story.”
Despite constant danger and uncertainty, Ohanesian has managed to produce photos that are moving and sometimes even beautiful. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, Time, and Al Jazeera. She proudly remains a freelance photographer.