A picture paints a thousand words

Image by Åsa SjöströmRecognising the emotive power of images, Catchlight is a philanthropic media organisation that showcases the work of visual storytellers who bring to life issues of social justice throughout the world.

Announcing the winners of the 2014 Activists Awards, managing director of Catchlight Shoka Javadiangilani described the entrants as “the eyes on the ground for the rest of us”.  Two winners were chosen from 256 submissions from 54 different countries.

Winner of the professional category was Swedish photographer Åsa Sjöström. Her photo essay The Secret Camps documents life at a secluded refuge for women and children. The Swedish camp offers respite for women and children fleeing domestic violence and honour killings throughout the world.

Describing the winning entry, judges said Sjöström “evocatively captures the transformational time at the camps for women and children who have suffered domestic violence, and in so doing, she brings attention to an issue that affects women and children all over the world”.

Winner of the emerging photographer’s category was India’s Amirtharaj Stephen. Koodankulam: A Nuclear Plant In My Backyard, documents the uprising of a local community against the Indian and Russian Government on the commissioning of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant. Steven said he decided to document the protests of the local people against the power plant as: “Most media in my state (Tamil Nadu) is highly politicized, as the media agencies there are owned or controlled by individuals with competing partisan interests. Most of the reportage … had its own underlying political agenda.”

The Catchlight awards remind us of the importance of storytelling and the power of images.

We would love to hear from readers about images that have caused you to stop and think – maybe even changed your mind – about an issue of social justice.

Image by Åsa Sjöström

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