The first exhibition of Anadolu Agency’s Istanbul Photo Awards 2018 opened on Thursday in Turkey's largest city with the participation of this year’s winner Damir Sagolj, a Bosnian photojournalist.
Reuters photojournalist Sagolj’s striking shot of 11-month-old dead Rohingya boy, whose eyes were covered with leaves, was chosen Photo of the Year 2018.
All the winning photographs of Istanbul Photo Awards 2018 are displayed at Maksem Cumhuriyet Art Gallery in Istanbul’s teeming Beyoglu district.
Speaking ahead of the opening ceremony, Anadolu Agency’s visual news editor-in-chief Ahmet Sel said that although it is only the contest’s fourth year, the number of participants has already increased and those joining the contest were some of the best photojournalists in the world.
“Both the prestige and the recognition of this competition, which our agency has organized, have reached a very high point in a short period,” Sel said.
Sel described the photojournalism as one of the most difficult professions in the media sector, and said most of the time these people risk their lives to carry out their jobs.
“[Photojournalism] requires a very serious devotion and special talent because we have to convey to the audience some items that contain emotions, aesthetes and information,” he added.
Commenting on this year’s winning photo, Sel said the photo is about Rohingya Muslims’ tragedy who were fleeing to Bangladesh from restive Rakhine state of Myanmar.
Exhibition open to visitors until May 15
Since August last year, more than 750,000 Rohingya Muslims fled their homeland amid a brutal crackdown by the Myanmar security forces, according to the Amnesty International.
Although it is a photo of a child who lost his life, Sel said, the picture focuses on emotions and giving information about a fact.
“At the moment when the child’s life ends, covering his eyes with tree leaves, which are the symbols of life, gave a different dimension to the photo,” he added.
Speaking at the ceremony, Anadolu Agency’s Executive Board Deputy Chairman Saban Kizildag said the exhibition will also be displayed at the UN headquarters in New York as well as in Russian capital Moscow.
Istanbul Mayor Mevlut Uysal also addressed the visitors at the ceremony.
The exhibition will be open to visitors until May 15.
A selection from the winning photographs can also be visited simultaneously in Taksim Metro Station during the exhibition.
The contest received 37,000 applications from 125 countries and the international jury rewarded 27 photographers from 22 countries in single and story categories of news, sports, portrait, nature & environment and daily life.
Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Turkish Airlines and Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) are sponsors of the contest.