South African photographer Jodi Bieber wins premier award

World Press Photo of the Year 2010© Jodi Bieber South Africa, Institute for Artist Management/Goodman Gallery for Time magazine

The international jury of the 54th annual World Press Photo Contest has selected a picture by Jodi Bieber from South Africa as the World Press Photo of the Year 2010. The portrait of Bibi Aisha was also awarded First prize in the category Portraits Singles in this year's contest. It was shot for Time and was featured on the cover of the 9 August issue of the magazine.

Her winning picture shows Bibi Aisha, 18, who was disfigured as retribution for fleeing her husband's house in Oruzgan province, in the center of Afghanistan. At the age of 12, Aisha and her younger sister had been given to the family of a Taliban fighter under a Pashtun tribal custom for settling disputes. When she reached puberty she was married to him, but she later returned to her parents' home, complaining of violent treatment by her in-laws.

Men arrived there one night demanding that she be handed over to be punished for running away. Aisha was taken to a mountain clearing, where, at the orders of a Taliban commander, she was held down and had first her ears sliced off, then her nose. In local culture, a man who has been shamed by his wife is said to have lost his nose, and this is seen as punishment in return. Aisha was abandoned, but later rescued and taken to a shelter in Kabul run by the aid organization Women for Afghan Women, where she was given treatment and psychological help. After time in the refuge, she was taken to America to receive further counseling and reconstructive surgery.

Jodi Bieber has previously won eight World Press Photo awards and is only the second South African photographer to win the highest honor in the contest. She is a former participant of the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass where she returned as a master in 2010. Bieber is represented by Institute for Artist Management and Goodman Gallery.

The conclusion of the jury
Jury chair David Burnett said, 'This could become one of those pictures - and we have maybe just ten in our lifetime - where if somebody says "you know, that picture of a girl...", you know exactly which one they're talking about.'

Juror Ruth Eichhorn commented, 'It's an incredibly strong image. It sends out an enormously powerful message to the world, about the 50% of the population that are women, so many of whom still live in miserable conditions, suffering violence. It is strong because the woman looks so dignified, iconic.'

Juror Vince Aletti said, 'It's a terrific picture, a different picture, a frightening picture. It's so much about not just this particular woman, but the state of women in the world.'

Juror Aidan Sullivan said, 'Part of what the World Press Photo contest does is to take pictures to a wider audience, an audience that is going to ask why? And this photo makes people ask "What on earth...?" "What's going on...?" "What has happened...?" For me, this was the picture that asked the most important questions.'

2011 contest statistics
The jury gave prizes in nine themed categories to 54 photographers of 23 nationalities from: Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Haiti, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Somalia, South Africa, Spain and the US.

This year, a record number of 108,059 images was submitted to the contest. The number of participating photographers was 5,691, representing 125 different nationalities.

The 2011 jury
The two-week judging period brought together 19 picture editors, curators, photographers and representatives of press agencies from around the world. The members of the 2011 jury were:

Chair
•  David Burnett, USA, photojournalist and founding member Contact Press Images

Members
•  Abir Abdullah, Bangladesh, photographer EPA and vice principal Pathshala South Asian Media Academy
•  Vince Aletti, USA, freelance critic
•  Marizilda Cruppe, Brazil, photographer O Globo / Eve Photographers
•  Ruth Eichhorn, Germany, director of photography Geo
•  Renata Ferri, Italy, photo editor Io Donna - Corriere della Sera
•  Heinz Kluetmeier, USA, photographer Sports Illustrated
•  Wim Melis, The Netherlands, curator Noorderlicht
•  Aidan Sullivan, UK, vice president photo assignments Getty Images

Secretaries
•  Daphné Anglès, France/USA, European picture coordinator The New York Times
•  Stephen Mayes, UK, managing director VII Photo Agency

For the second year, specialized juries took part in the initial rounds of judging for the categories Sports, Nature and Portraits. The members of the specialized juries were:

Sports
•  Koji Aoki, Japan, chief photographer Aflo Sport / Aflo Dite and president Aflo Co., Ltd.
•  Giovanna Calvenzi, Italy, picture editor Sportweek / La Gazzetta dello Sport
•  Heinz Kluetmeier, USA, photographer Sports Illustrated

Nature
•  Ruth Eichhorn, Germany, director of photography Geo
•  Mattias Klum, Sweden, photographer and filmmaker
•  Sophie Stafford, UK, editor BBC Wildlife Magazine

Portraits
•  Vince Aletti, USA, freelance critic
•  Harry Borden, UK, photographer
•  Terence Pepper, UK, curator of photographs National Portrait Gallery

News & documentary
•  Peter Bialobrzeski, Germany, artist
•  David Burnett, USA, photojournalist and founding member Contact Press Images
•  Héric Libong, Cameroon, head of photo department Panapress
•  Enric Martí, Spain, regional editor AP for Latin America and Caribbean
•  Sujong Song, South Korea, independent curator and photo editor

Special Mention
Following the judging of the contest, the jury decided to name a Special Mention to a 12-picture series of photographs made by the miners trapped for 69 days inside the San José mine in Chile, 700 meters underground, before they were rescued on 13 October.

The pictures show the difficult conditions inside the mine and feature one of the men, Edison Peña, a keen runner who kept up his exercises underground. Writer Dan McDougall and photographer Adam Patterson spent weeks with the Peñas family before he was rescued and began corresponding with him by letter. McDougall and Patterson were able to send Peña a pair of running shoes and a small digital camera down into the mine shaft where he was trapped. Panos Pictures is distributing the pictures on behalf of Edison Peña.

Jury member Abir Abdullah said, 'This recognition opens up the possibility of showing citizen journalism, when professional photographers have not had the opportunity to be some place, but because of technological development, someone can record it....it brings us into a new era that challenges professionals, and this is a good example of a photo from a place where a photojournalist could not possibly have been.'

Jury member Vince Aletti said, 'We are able to see the conditions...the images respond to our curiosity in a vivid way.'

The jury considers a visual document for a Special Mention when it has played an essential role in the news reporting of the year worldwide and could not have been made by a professional photographer.

Awards Days and 2011 exhibition
Jodi Bieber, the photographer of the World Press Photo of the Year 2010, will receive her award during an awards ceremony in Amsterdam on Saturday, 7 May 2011. The award also carries a cash prize of €10,000. In addition, Canon will donate a Canon EOS Digital SLR Camera and lens kit to Jodi Bieber. Maurice Lacroix, a Swiss watch manufacturer, is the official watch partner of the World Press Photo Awards Ceremony.

The Awards Ceremony is preceded by a two-day program of lectures, discussions and screenings of photography. The exhibition of prize-winning photography will be shown at the Oude Kerk from 22 April to 19 June and subsequently visit over 100 locations around the world.

World Press Photo receives support from the Dutch Postcode Lottery and is sponsored worldwide by Canon and TNT.

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.

For further information, please contact:

The press department at World Press Photo, or tel. +31(0)20 676 6096.

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