The judges also presented a special award to Enayat Asadi (Iran) for his project, Rising from the Ashes of War. Sponsored by The Philip and Edith Leonian Foundation, the $2,500 award are presented to Smith Grant finalists whose works the judges deemed as “exceptional and worthy of recognition.”
Project Description(submitted by photographer):
RISING FROM THE ASHES OF WAR
I am creating an alternative history that can help us comprehend the lives and struggle of refugees. There are still limitless stories or at least stories that haven’t been discovered yet. I tell human stories about the lives of immigrants that are forgotten by media. I prefer to go to the heart of this story with thinking and curiosity as I try to comprehend the problems that are related to the permanent fight of these refugees – all the while asking myself, how can it be?
I work in the great tradition of documentary photography and long-term photojournalism. I do my work honestly and patiently, forming a connection between myself and the people that I meet. I embed myself into their lives, whether they are refugees or smugglers, so that I can then be present to photograph the key moments that tell this story.
Photography plays a fundamental role in alerting and sensitizing the public in a straightforward, sometimes pungent way that no other medium has yet been capable of. I look to bring into people’s daily lives the story of those who are ignored and forgotten by society. I look to make people aware of the problems that exist and to have them take a position about them.
My duty is to document a photo of the human being in this crisis path that needs attention by takings convincing photos from refugees. I know that with only one project lives of millions of refugees won’t change because mind can’t figure out a humanity crisis in 30 seconds, but I try to document the history. I believe documentary photography is a powerful tool to inform and challenge the audience on a personal, intimate level, but not only: images can foster direct action by passionate and committed individuals, as well as by governments, policy-makers, groups and organizations.
I try to make their voices heard by human rights organization and politicians. I hope that picture of these refugees who have been forgotten will get noticed and to connect these people to the Human Rights Organizations or organizations which help people who are in this type of situations.
Countries that are their destination make the laws harder against them so these refugees instead of having better life have to encounter dangers and problems in life and they will have to deal with new confusions and hardships.
I prefer to show the history and destroying life and aggression against refugees who have been forgotten by showing photos in internationally exhibitions to be seen by the general public، policymaker and government. Exhibition that helps photos to be seen better and get analyzed more exact by people or by publishing a book that will save them permanently.