Vienna, 17 September 2015 –The Alfred Fried Photography Award 2015, worth 10 000 euros, goes to 34-year old Brussels-based photographer Patricia Willocq. The award was first established in 2013 by Edition Lammerhuber and Österreichische Photographische Gesellschaft.
Look at me, I am beautiful is the title of the photo series that earned Willocq the award, presented Thursday evening at a gala in the rooms of the Austrian parliament. Doris Bures, Speaker of the National Council, introduced the ceremony attended by 240 guests, including Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, who had flown in from New Delhi for the occasion.
Willocq‘s photo story picks up on the themes of exploitation, poverty and violence, turning them around in a kind of fable, told with wit and verve, of a better Africa.
“There is no path towards peace”, the Speaker of the National Council quoted Mahatma Gandhi, “peace is the path.” It was now up to the European Union to show that it was able to walk that path.
In words charged with emotion, publisher Lois Lammerhuber, initiator and main organizer of the international competition, recounted the rapid success story of the award, which in its third year had already attracted over 14 000 submissions by photographers from 121 countries.
Good news is bad news? “The Alfred Fried Photography Award definitely breaks this pattern”, explained Peter-Matthias Gaede, long-time Editor-in-Chief of GEO magazine and this year’s chairman of the jury. The award was “dedicated to hope and confidence.” It was “certainly not meant as a theatre of illusion in a period of crisis and wars”, rather it invited a change of perspective.
British photographer Giles Duley, who in 2011 had lost both legs and his left arm in Afghanistan, represented the International Press Institute to remember, in highly evocative words, those photographers who had been killed within the last year while practising their profession.
In his keynote, Kailash Satyarthi, 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate for his commitment to children’s rights and a fairer education system globally, commended the winning photographs for being “full of emotions and important messages”. He wanted to honour these pictures, knowing how difficult it was to find hope and peace. “Opportunities need to be created to experience peace and to practice it.” He called for a “globalization of compassion for the rights of children.”
Four more photographers received awards, apart from Patricia Willocq. The Alfred Fried Photography Award Medal also went to: Arthur van Beveren, for his photo essay about slowly eroding World War II bunkers; Dmitrij Leltschuk, for his photo report about downshifters in Belarus; David Martín Huamaní Bedoya, for his poetic pictures of traditional Peruvian peasants’ lives, and to Carla Kogelman, for images of a peaceful everyday life away from civilization’s stress zones in the Austrian Waldviertel area.