In what could well prove to be the the start of one of the most important periods in time for this work for Burma’s political prisoners I was woken to the sound of a text message from the other side of the world… “Another double for Burma”. I had a feeling what it was about and so rushed online to check in for the results. To my absolute astonishment and overwhelming joy and pride for all those involved in both pieces of work, I saw that I had won both 1st and 2nd prize in the Prix de la Photographie Paris 2010 Political Photojournalism – this project took the second place whilst it was my other work for the Mae Tao clinic that took top honours (you can see it here). Shocked. Stoked. Speechless.
For full details you can download the full press release here: PX3 2010 Press Release
This new award like those before it are not for me or for my ability in having taken any of these photographs. That’s the easiest thing to do when you have an emotional connection to something. All these awards and recognition belong to the people who have taken part in this project – the 167 former political prisoners and the 2,157 currently in jail and the many hundreds I am yet to meet. In particular I’d like to dedicate this award to the former political prisoners living a stateless life on the Thai-Burma border. In a world where true courage is so rarely rewarded, these people bear dignity, and show strength like no other in the face of an unknown future having just escaped a very forgettable past. Exactly the same goes for the award for the Mae Tao clinic and the hundreds of people it cares for each day. Human dignity and the suffering it has been forced to endure at the hands of the brutal military regime knows no bounds.
It was the most amazing start to the week and I’m hoping it’s the next launchpad for this work and my involvement in Burma. Last year this project got its first major chance of exposure when it won runner-up prize in the Amateur category of Political Photojournalism but this year to win both 1st and 2nd place in the professional photographers category is my biggest achievement to date. First contact of the day is of course with those who have made both projects happen and very special thanks to those people – at the Mae Tao clinic it’s to my good friend Eh Thwa and of course Dr Cynthia and the thanks for this work for Burma’s political prisoners of course goes to AAPP, DVB and every single one of the 167 former PPs that I’ve photographed all over the world, the 2,157 currently detained and also to the many hundreds I am yet to meet on this fabulous journey. Without them there is nothing and with them there is everything.
Though imprisoned they are everywhere with us.
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