The IWMF Names Eloisa Lopez 2019 Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award Winner

Women photojournalists in the Philippines, United States and Saudi Arabia receive top honors

[April 30 , 2019 – WASHINGTON, DC] – Today the International Women’s Media Foundation announced Filipino freelance photojournalist Eloisa Lopez as this year’s Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award winner. The award honors brave women journalists who document underreported stories in challenging or underserved environments while capturing poignant moments of humanity. The award was created in honor of German Associated Press photojournalist Anja Niedringhaus, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2014.

Lopez was selected as the winner from the most geographically diverse pool of applicants since the award program’s debut five years ago. The IWMF also announced two honorable mentions: American freelance photojournalist Mary Calvert and Saudi Arabian freelance photojournalist Tasneem Alsultan.

The portfolios submitted by this year’s honorees told the stories of their own countries, capturing local turmoil, trauma and social justice with dignity, intimacy and power. By turning the lens back on local communities, these women photojournalists committed to narratives that explored intimate themes of grief, loss and restriction that aren’t often amplified.

“This year the IWMF is elated to recognize three powerful freelance women photojournalists whose commonalities include bringing attention to local stories,” said the IWMF Executive Director Elisa Lees Muñoz. “Anja consistently met a high standard of both courage and technical excellence, and that pairing is evident in each of the portfolios from Eloisa, Mary and Tasneem. We look forward to seeing what’s to come from these women in their bright futures.”

Lopez, Calvert and Alsultan will be honored at a ceremony this June in Washington, D.C., at the residence of German Ambassador Emily Haber. Susan Goldberg, Editorial Director of National Geographic Partners and Editor in Chief of National Geographic Magazine, will lead an intimate conversation with Lopez during the event; media interviews with the honorees, Goldberg and Ambassador Haber will be reviewed upon request.

Anja Niedringhaus was a recipient of the IWMF Courage in Journalism Award in 2005. The awards program is made possible by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation the winner receives a $20,000 prize. Honorees’ images and captions, biographies and headshots are available for media use with proper attribution; to inquiry further, please contact Charlotte Fox (

Courage in Photojournalism Award Winner

Winner Eloisa Lopez is a Filipino photojournalist based in Manila who specializes in stories on human rights, women and religion. Lopez began her career documenting Filipino Catholic faith when Pope Francis visited the Philippines in 2015. After graduating from De La Salle University, she worked as a photo correspondent for the Philippine Daily Inquirer and covered news and lifestyle stories.

In 2016, after President Duterte was seated in government and declared a war on drugs, Lopez documented the nightly killings across Manila as a personal project. She continued to work on this story as a crime beat multimedia reporter for online news site Rappler in 2017. In late 2018, Lopez also joined Reuters as a contributing photographer covering news around the Philippines.

Lopez’s work has been exhibited with fellow photojournalists covering the drug war at the Prix Bayeux Festival in Normandy, WARM Festival in Sarajevo and at the World Council of Churches in Geneva. She continues to pursue the story through additional grants.

Juror Robert Nickelsberg noted that Lopez, “Delivered a unique vision of compassion for the families left behind amidst the drug war, which stems from her ability to turn the camera in the right direction.” Juror Eman Mohammed followed that, “She is in the cross-hairs of the police every night, and as a freelancer pursuing this narrative, she truly embodies the epitome of courage.”

Juror Tara Pixley commented that, “Telling a local story is so important – there is a great deal of worth in understanding, on a deeper level, what’s happening in your own society and political sphere.” Juror Jacqueline Larma continued that, “The tremendous promise of this young photographer is palatable, and Anja nurtured this type of potential among many up-and-coming journalists.”

Expressing gratitude from Manila, Lopez remarked that, “Coverage on the drug war is subsiding but people are still dying; it’s becoming normal. Elevating the voices of those left behind is critical now more than ever.” She continued, “It’s hard to find the words to express what a deep honor this award is for me. I share it with my fellow journalists and photographers who continue to document this story. Courage is being able to speak out when many refuse, stepping outside of what’s normal despite the risks and knowing the consequences. This award is for the families in this community, to show them that they are not alone in fighting impunity.”

Twitter: @eloisaalopez; Instagram: @eloisalopez

Courage in Photojournalism Honorees

Photojournalist Mary Calvert, one of two honorees, is committed to using photography to affect meaningful social change and is known for producing work on underreported and neglected gender-based, human rights issues.

For the past four years Mary has been focused on the underreported relegation and abuse of women and men in the U.S. Armed Forces. Her work “Sexual Assault in America’s Military” was awarded 1st Prize, Long Term Projects in the 2016 World Press Photo Contest and the next chapter of the project, “Prisoners of War: Male-on-male Sexual Assault in America’s Military” was awarded the 2016 Getty Images Grant in Editorial Photography. It was also awarded the 2015 and 2014 NPPA Cliff Edom New America Award and the 2013 Canon Female Photojournalist Award.

Mary is a 2017 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow in Photography. She has won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award twice and is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist in Feature Photography.

Twitter: @maryfcalvert, Instagram: @maryfcalvert

Tasneem Alsultan, one of this year’s honorees, is an investigative photographer based in Saudi Arabia. Her work focuses on documenting social issues and rights-based topics in the Arab Gulf region through a gender lens, challenging stereotypical perceptions of the Middle East. Covering stories for The New York Times and National Geographic, Alsultan most recently covered the lifting of the driving ban for Saudi women and the lifting of the ban on Saudi women entering sports arenas.

Alsultan was selected as one of the 10 grantees of the Magnum Foundation/Prince Clause/AFAC grant in 2015, debuting “Saudi Tales of Love,” which was published in Time’s Lightbox, and exhibited at Paris Photo, PhotoKathmandu and Pour L’Image, Perpignan in 2016. She was also selected by British Journal Photography among the best 16 emerging photographers to watch, and PDN’s 30 photographers to watch in 2017. Alsultan is a finalist in the 2017 Sony World Photography Awards in Contemporary Issues and in 2018 she joined the Canon Ambassador program as the program’s first Arab female photographer.

In 2019, Alsultan was selected as a recipient of the Catchlight Fellowship to continue her work on Saudi women.

Twitter: @tasneemalsultan, Instagram: @tasneemalsultan


About the International Women’s Media Foundation

Founded in 1990, the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) is the only global non-profit organization that offers emergency support, safety training, reporting opportunities and funding avenues offered specifically for female journalists. We are making more women’s bylines possible and work tirelessly to ensure a greater diversity of voices represented in the news industry worldwide. Follow the IWMF on Twitter at @IWMF, on Facebook at @IWMFPage, and Instagram on @TheIWMF.

Media Contact:
Charlotte Fox
Director of Communications
(202) 567-2615