Waiting for an Opportunity © Fernando Moleres
Mohamed Conteh (14) receives a sentence of three years' imprisonment or the payment 150,000 leones (approx €30). He was accused of possessing a package of marijuana. Without family to help, he will have to serve his sentence. Freetown, Sierra Leone.© Fernando Moleres / Panos Pictures

World Press Photo and Human Rights Watch are pleased to announce that the Spanish photographer Fernando Moleres has been awarded the 2012 Tim Hetherington Grant, set up to celebrate the legacy of the photojournalist and filmmaker killed in Libya in 2011. The annual grant of €20,000, intended to support a photographer in completing an existing project on a human rights theme, was given for Moleres’ project entitled 'Waiting for an opportunity'. It was chosen by a selection committee from among 176 applications by visual journalists of 53 nationalities.

The project 'Waiting for an opportunity' explores the harsh conditions minors face while incarcerated in the adult prison of Pademba, Sierra Leone, and follows them in their struggle to adjust to life outside after release from prison. Many juveniles wait for years for their trial, without access to legal assistance; while their families have often rejected them and will not welcome them back home.

The photography and video project also follows the lives of the young former inmates who were taken in under the social rehabilitation program of the NGO Free Minor Africa. The program was started by Moleres in the hope of helping the juvenile prisoners in Sierra Leone become part of society again.

The 2012 selection committee of the Tim Hetherington Grant consisted of photographers, editors, and representatives from World Press Photo and Human Rights Watch: Marcus Bleasdale, documentary photographer VII Photo Agency, Carroll Bogert, deputy executive director for external relations Human Rights Watch, James Brabazon, journalist and documentary filmmaker, Whitney C. Johnson, director of photography The New Yorker, and Michiel Munneke, managing director World Press Photo. Adriaan Monshouwer, the founder of Picture Inside, served as the secretary during the selection.

Reviewing the applications, the selection committee looked for the qualities that defined Hetherington’s career: work that operates on multiple platforms and in a variety of formats; that crosses boundaries between breaking news and longer-term investigation; and that demonstrates a consistent moral commitment to the lives and stories of the photographic subjects.

Marcus Bleasdale commented: “For me, just as for Tim, photography is a starting point, the start of a journey and you try to work out what you can do with that photo to affect change, to inform and to educate. This project has that vision.”

On behalf of the selection committee, Michiel Munneke said: “This project embodies Tim Hetherington’s spirit, and is a testimony of his legacy. Moleres’ truly engaged yet underreported story, speaks fundamentally of hope and commitment. It can bring about change, and make a difference.”

First edition, 2011
Last year, the American photographer Stephen Ferry received the first Tim Hetherington Grant for his project Violentology: A Manual of the Colombian Conflict, that highlights the history and current dynamics of the war in Colombia, while exposing the role of the distinct parties in the conflict.

The Tim Hetherington Grant is a joint initiative of Human Rights Watch and World Press Photo, and was created in honor of the photojournalist and filmmaker Tim Hetherington killed in Misrata, Libya in April 2011. The application process was open to all professional photographers who have participated in a World Press Photo competition between 2008 and 2012.
World Press Photo receives support from the Dutch Postcode Lottery and is sponsored worldwide by Canon.

About World Press Photo

World Press Photo organizes the leading international contest in visual journalism. The foundation is committed to supporting and advancing high standards in photojournalism and documentary storytelling worldwide. Its aim is to generate wide public interest in and appreciation for the work of photographers and other visual journalists, and for the free exchange of information. The activities include organizing annual photojournalism and multimedia contests and global exhibition tours. The Academy programs strive to stimulate high-quality visual journalism through educational programs, grants and by creating greater visibility through a variety of publications. World Press Photo is an independent, non-profit organization with its office in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where it was founded in 1955.

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