14 November 2011

An arresting black and white image taken in Nepal has been awarded an annual photo prize organised by UQ’s School of Political Science and International Studies.

Mohit Pant, a former intern at UQ’s Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, submitted the winning image “Each face; one story” after visiting the remote country to work with a peace-building organisation.

“In a remote western village, I came across these kids and every one had a horrible story to share. I took the picture before they shared with me their story. Every time I see the picture, I see the pain in their eyes,” Mr Pant said.

Staged for the third consecutive year, the competition has gone from strength to strength with more than 90 entries received in 2011. Guest judge and MC for the awards ceremony Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Keniger commended the high standard of the entries and the challenging range of subject matter.

The runners-up prize was shared by two images: “Smiles from Canal Children” by Rini Indrayanti and “Journey to School” by Giorgio Algeri.

Ms Indrayanti said she was delighted to accept the award for a photograph taken while visiting a friend who was working on an aid project in Indonesia.

“The girls’ parents were scavengers and the girls were playing outside their house surrounded by sacks full of plastic bottles. The girls were so poor but so happy,” she said.

Mr Algeri, a former Rotary Peace Fellow and Masters of International Studies graduate, took his image in the Palestinian Territories in January 2010 when he was working as a freelance journalist.

Mr Algeri said the major challenge with the job was to document events with impartiality and neutrality.

“Each day early in the morning and afternoon, I accompanied a team of three international volunteers to ensure that the (Palestinian) children’s journey to school was safe. I witnessed that many of these primary-school children ignored the fear, and turned a blind eye on daily injustices merely by smiling and telling jokes.

“This was the first time I have ever entered a photo contest. This award is dedicated to all those young children who only deserve to leave in peace and security.”

All of the shortlisted entries can be viewed online.

Media: Gillian Ievers (07 3365 3308, g.ievers@uq.edu.au)