Images of protests and refugee crisis celebrated in photography awards

The photographs that capture a troubled world: Powerful images of protests, the refugee crisis and the Black Lives Matter movement among winners of State of the World competition

  • The PX3 State of the World 2020 photo competition in Paris celebrates the authentic experiences of many 
  • Photographers are challenged to provide ‘uncensored’ insight into stories which ‘otherwise fail to reach us’
  • Winners include images of Hong Kong protests, the Mexico border wall, coronavirus and Black Lives Matter 

Protests, war, illness and violence across the world have left indelible imprints in our memories in 2020.

And they are among a series of powerful images which have been immortalised in a new photo competition highlighting the divisions which have cleaved many societies apart.  

The PX3 State of the World 2020 photo competition in Paris has selected a number of powerful images, including the Hong Kong protests, the US-Mexico border issue, police brutality and the Uyghur crisis in China, as this year’s winners.

The PX3 State of the World 2020 competition has highlighted many of the divisions in society today with a new photography awards ceremony. Pictured: Stefano Stranges’ photo The End of the Exodus – Inferno Moria, taken in a refugee camp in Greece

Aiming to highlight ongoing conflict in Syria, Yusuke Suzuki’s image Jin! Jiyan! Azadi! features the Kurdish Women’s Defence Unit. The title reflects their slogan ‘Women! Life! Freedom!’

Hong Kong Protest photographer Wei Fu captured a protestor rallying against the proposed extradition bill as they were taken down by the Chinese riot police

The competition celebrates the authentic experiences of many across the world, with photographers challenged to provide ‘uncensored’ insight into stories which ‘may otherwise fail to reach us’.

In one winning entry, Hong Kong Protest photographer Wei Fu captured a protestor rallying against the proposed extradition bill as they were taken down by the Chinese riot police.  

Another powerful image titled Power by Demayne Murphy featured Chicago’s masked police as they stood in a line holding their truncheons ready to respond to the Black Lives Matter protests.  

Hossein Farmani, State of the World 2020 curator, said: ‘This year, like many previous years, has been an eventful year. Viewing nearly five-hundred submissions – happy, sad, joyful, hopeful – brought tears to my eyes.

Power by Demayne Murphy featured Chicago’s masked police as they stood in a line holding their truncheons ready to respond to the Black Lives Matter protests

Joseph Patronite’s My Americana Today shows an armed officer in riot gear standing next to a photo of George Floyd, who became a symbol of protests against police brutality across the world

In Ni Rei Ni Por, Gian Marco Benedetto depicts a masked youth as a symbol of the protests in Barcelona urging the government to free political prisoners in response to the failed Catalan separatist movement

Fabio Marcato’s A Meal For Everyone shows a number of expecting children holding out bowls as they await food. This brand new competition celebrates the authentic experiences of many across the world

‘There were stories of suffering and struggle, whether this was in the lives of powerless people or immigrants looking for a better future, or people standing up to the government and fighting a pandemic that has crippled the world.

‘This selection is only a glimpse into the truth of what is really happening around us told through the raw, unadulterated lens of the brave photographers who have shared their stories.’

Photographer Ada Trillo captured her image, If Walls Could Speak, showing the Mexican-US border. 

The photo which features a young woman staring towards a tall fence analyses the social impacts of President Trump’s border enforcement.

Photographer Ada Trillo captured her image, If Walls Could Speak, showing the Mexican-US border. The photo which features a young woman staring towards a tall fence analyses the social impacts of President Trump’s border enforcement

Photographer Amy Siqveland tackled China’s handling of the country’s Uyghur population in her image, A Cultural Genocide: Persecution of the Largest Minority Group in China

Alain Schroeder, a Belgian photographer, submitted Charcoal Black, an image of a Polish coal miner at the Pniówek mine, 40 km south-west of Katowice, the capital of Silesia

Sylvia de Swaan’s The Year of the Coronavirus shows a woman’s face behind a gauze sheet as the competition celebrates many of the significant global events of the year

She said: ‘The photo is a glimpse into the besieged hopes, harsh uncertainties, and blunt realities – but also the enduring dignity – of Central American asylum seekers forced into a cruel and dangerous waiting game.

‘I hope that people who view my photo can begin to understand the odysseys many have undertaken to provide a brighter future for themselves and their children – only to be mistreated and sent back across the border.’

In Ni Rei Ni Por, Gian Marco Benedetto shines a light on the youths that took to Barcelona’s streets urging the government to free political prisoners in response to the failed Catalan separatist movement.

Photographer Amy Siqveland tackled China’s handling of the country’s Uyghur population in her image, A Cultural Genocide: Persecution of the Largest Minority Group in China.

Basim Ghomorlou’s The Children of Iran’s Gypsies: A Lost Childhood shows three young children in Bardaskan, Iran, as they grow up in a nomadic lifestyle

Guligo Jia’s Empty Chair shows a family in Nepal who have lost a daughter in the 1996-2006 Civil War, whose portrait looms large on the wall behind 

‘Two million Uyghur people have been sent to concentration camps in Xinjiang,’ Amy said.

‘I went to visit eight towns in the Xinjiang region and witnessed the cultural liquidation. Houses and businesses that once made up the ancient Silk Road cities had been destroyed and replaced.’

Joseph Patronite’s image My Americana Today, features a heavily armed soldier standing next to a poster of George Floyd, and a young African-American man walking past saluting to the sky. 

Floyd’s death sparked a resurgence in the Black Lives Matter movement earlier this year.

Giles Clarke’s photo, Cameroon: The Anglophone War, shows a destroyed police car at the entrance of a former government-owned banana plantation

Alain Schroeder’s Upper East Side Story shows a woman posing in New York’s most affluent neighbourhood surrounded by a number of colonial artworks 

‘This image deals with race, political upheaval, social separation, and hopelessness in the USA today,’ Joseph said.

Aiming to highlight ongoing conflict in Syria, Yusuke Suzuki’s image Jin! Jiyan! Azadi! features the Kurdish Women’s Defence Unit. 

The image’s title, which reflects their slogan, translates to ‘Women! Life! Freedom!’

‘Amongst the Kurdish fighters in Rojava, there are female warriors full of love and passion for the land that they were raised on,’ Yusuke said.

‘They fight for their beliefs and ideals with AK47s in their hands. They are dreaming and fighting for the liberation of all oppressed people.’

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