Van Houtryve Wins POYi's Freelance Photographer of the Year Award
by David Walker
©Tomas van Houtryve
Photographer Tomas van Houtryve has won POYi's Photographer of the Year award in the freelance/agency category. His portfolio included several critical essays about the social and political effects of entrenched communist regimes in Moldova, Cuba and China. The second place award went to Getty staff photographer Paula Bronstein, while Marcus Bleasdale, a member of VII, won third place.
Bleasdale won top prize in the Best Photography Book category for The Rape of a Nation, his recent book about the human and environmental costs of civil war in The Congo. (It is Bleasdale's second book about The Congo, and includes images shot in the last eight years since the publication of his critically acclaimed 2002 book, One Hundred Years of Darkness.) Judges gave special recognition to Zed Nelson, another British photojournalist, for his book Love Me, a wide-ranging examination of the beauty industry.
Other major awards handed out this week at the POYi competition included the World Understanding Award, which went to Danish photographer Thomas Lekfeldt for "A Star in the Sky," a documentary project about the last year in the life of a young Danish girl with a terminal illness.
The Global Vision Award went to Brian L. Frank for his story "The Death of the Colorado," about the effects of climate change and resource mismanagement on the Colorado River.
The panel of judges included photographers Donna DeCesare, Pablo Corral Vega and Lynn Johnson, as well as Søren Pagter of the Danish School of Media and Journalism.
A full list of winning entries in POYi's freelance/agency categories can be viewed at POYi.org. The winning entries in various newspaper categories, announced last week, are also viewable.
Although POYi is posting winning entries as they are selected, organizers will not post names of winning photographers until next week, after all categories have been judged and the winners have been certified.
This week, judges will determine winners of the competition's editing and multimedia categories.