10 World Press Photo Awards, 10 Backstories

Ten female photojournalists share the stories behind their iconic award-winning images

Yunghi Kim
Nov 28, 2017 · 9 min read



Image for post
Image for post
Living With AIDS: Photo Daily Life Story 1988 © Jane Evelyn Atwood / Contact Press Images

Jane Evelyn Atwood

Jean-Louis was the first person with AIDS in Europe to be photographed to appear in the press. I lived with him the last four months of his life to do the story. After the first publication, in Paris Match, a young student wrote and said she hadn’t understood what AIDS was until she saw our story. She put a tribute to Jean-Louis in the school newspaper and I learned that although only thirty kilometres from Paris, in 1987, the school had never had any information about AIDS — until she put it in the paper, until Match published it, until Jean-Louis allowed himself to be photographed.


Image for post
Image for post
TIME magazine commissioned a portrait series of women in Afghanistan. Bibi Aisha: Photo of the Year 2011 © Jodi Bieber

Jodi Bieber

Aisha was living in a shelter for women in Kabul when I met her. Aisha was held down and had her nose and ears cut off by her husband and family as punishment for trying to run away from her husband in southern Afghanistan.


Image for post
Image for post
Geisha: Photo Daily Life Story 1986 © Jodi Cobb / National Geographic

Jodi Cobb

It was spring of 1985 and one hundred photographers gathered in Japan to photograph for 24 hours for the book series A Day in the Life. My assignment was the geisha of Kyoto. Geishas’ distinctive makeup turn them into perfect but anonymous women, women who all shared the same face. I was dazzled by their preposterous beauty.


Image for post
Image for post
Liberia Execution: Spot News Story 1997 © Corinne Dufka

Corinne Dufka

The NPFL militiamen discovered the man hiding in an abandoned market during a lull in the vicious outbreak of fighting which gripped Monrovia in April 1996.


Image for post
Image for post
Spot News Story 1995: A U.S. soldier steps in to protect a man suspected of throwing a grenade into a joyous democracy march, killing and injuring numerous pro-Aristide demonstrators in yet another act of intimidation by para-military thugs. The soldiers arrested him, saving his life from an angry and bitter crowd looking for justice after many years of repression. Port-au-Prince, Haiti © Carol Guzy/ Washington Post

Carol Guzy

There was a pro-democracy march after the troops arrived. However, it was still a time of anarchy. Explosions obliterated the joy and we put wounded in our vehicle for the hospital.


Image for post
Image for post
Going Home: General News Story 1997 © Yunghi Kim / Contact Press Images

Yunghi Kim

I spotted Yolanda Mugeni on the road. My instincts told me to follow her home to personalize this massive story; the aftermath of the Rwandan Genocide. After watching Rwandans drift home for days, I wanted to see where they would settle. The two-year genocide had killed over 500,000 and many Rwandans had left murdered families and torched villages behind. Cholera claimed another half-a-million in the squalid refugee camps.


Image for post
Image for post
West Bank: Spot News 1998. As he hurls a stone at Israeli soldiers, a Palestinian is shot in the divided West Bank town of Hebron. © Wendy Sue Lamm

Wendy Sue Lamm

On my third day as a staff photographer at Agence France-Presse (AFP) in Jerusalem, I went with a colleague to the West Bank town of Hebron, where clashes were happening between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians. My colleague chose to position himself with some other photographers at the scene. I chose to go in another direction.


Image for post
Image for post
Childrens Award 1991 © Joanne Rathe Strohmeyer / Boston Globe

Joanne Rathe Strohmeyer

Unlike the violence I witnessed in 1986 on my first trip to South Africa, in 1990 there was a certain excitement in the air. Apartheid was losing its grip. ‘Whites Only’ signs had disappeared, and Nelson Mandela’s release was imminent. My challenge was to document the subtle changes that were taking place. Two weeks after blacks had been given the right to travel on buses previously reserved for whites, black and white South Africans waited for the same bus in downtown Johannesburg. Sometimes it is just the quiet photo that speaks volumes.


Image for post
Image for post
Kosovo: Photo Of The Year 1999. Ajmane Aliu, a mother of six children, is comforted by relatives and friends at the funeral of her husband, Ilmi Aliu. The man was a soldier with the ethnic Albanian rebels of the Kosovo Liberation Army, fighting for independence from Serbia. He had been shot the previous day while on patrol. © Dayna Smith / Washington Post

Dayna Smith

TRIBE: People in my tribe are imagemakers. We tell stories through moments; sometimes good, often not. The woman in this photo is comforted by her tribe on a day of unbelievable sorrow. It is the funeral for her husband and father to her six children who was shot to death on his way to check on a bakery where he had worked, before the messiness of war intervened. Our tribes crossed paths that day. With simple eye contact she gave me permission to tell her story. Izbica, Kosovo, November 11, 1998


Susan Watts

I remember the first time I saw Gloria Colon. She was the walking dead, stumbling down the industrial, pocked sidewalks of Hunts Point on a sweltering summer afternoon in 1997. I was in the Bronx shooting a story for the Daily News (the newspaper where I still work today) about an outreach van providing clean needles and condoms to heroin-addicted prostitutes.


Vantage

Perspectives on Visual Storytelling

Yunghi Kim

Written by

Photojournalist • Yunghi Grant • YunghiKim.Com • TW: @Yunghi • FB: YunghiKim.Photojournalist • Instagram: Yunghi.Kim • Project: TrailblazersOfLight.com

Vantage

Vantage

Perspectives on Visual Storytelling

Yunghi Kim

Written by

Photojournalist • Yunghi Grant • YunghiKim.Com • TW: @Yunghi • FB: YunghiKim.Photojournalist • Instagram: Yunghi.Kim • Project: TrailblazersOfLight.com

Vantage

Vantage

Perspectives on Visual Storytelling

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch

Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore

Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store