Veteran Photojournalist Paula Bronstein Wins IWMF 2022 Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award
Women journalists from Afghanistan and the United States recognized
[May 3, 2022 – WASHINGTON, DC] – The International Women’s Media Foundation this morning announced freelance photojournalist Paula Bronstein as this year’s recipient of the Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award. In its eighth year, the prestigious award recognizes women photojournalists who exhibit extraordinary courage and humanity in reporting from areas of instability, oppression, and conflict. The award was created in honor of German Associated Press photojournalist Anja Niedringhaus, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2014.
Bronstein’s career spans four decades working across multiple continents and includes the publication of her book, “Afghanistan: Between Hope and Fear,” in 2016. Bronstein’s winning portfolio highlights afflictions affecting communities across Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover in 2021; how war upends the life of the elderly in Ukraine; and the migration of the Rohingya out of Myanmar to Bangladesh.
“My entire career I’ve focused on capturing the features and the effects that surround conflict,” says Bronstein, currently working in Kyiv. “I knew Anja, and I was in Afghanistan when she was killed in 2014; she looked where others did not, and that ability to hold the gaze of a community is something I work toward. Winning this award is humbling and I am honored to think about my work as continuing her image.”
Two other women photojournalists were recognized this year as honorees, including United States freelance photojournalist Carol Guzy, and Afghan freelance photojournalist Farzana Wahidy. Guzy – who also knew Niedringhaus – was honored for her portfolio demonstrating universal emotion within communities rebuilding following tragedy, including stories from Albania, Georgia, Iraq, Haiti, and Syria. Wahidy’s portfolio of women in Afghanistan captured across 20 years was recognized for its singularity in storytelling among people whose lives are under threat every single day.
“There are so many women photojournalists working today – against an alarming gender disparity in the industry – because they believe in illuminating truths much of the world does not always see,” says the IWMF’s Executive Director Elisa Lees Muñoz. “It is an honor for the IWMF to award Paula and recognize Carol and Farzana in Anja’s image today. These brave women show us the strength, determination, and resolve it takes to push onward and look where others do not.”
This year’s jury included editors and photojournalists Tasneem Alsultan, Vanessa Charlot, Jacqueline Larma, Bernadette Tuazon, Nicole Tung, and Adriana Zehbrauskas. Following jury selection, the group issued the following statement: “This year’s acclaimed portfolios all exhibit work that personified Anja’s values. For Paula, Carol, and Farzana, it’s evident that photojournalism is their second realm of existence, just as it was for Anja. We congratulate these brave women for their achievements and extensive work bringing critical and memorable stories to the forefront.”
Anja Niedringhaus was a recipient of the IWMF Courage in Journalism Award in 2005. The winner’s $20,000 prize is made possible by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. Honorees’ images and captions, biographies, and headshots are available for media use with proper attribution; to inquire further, please contact Charlotte Fox (email@example.com).
Courage in Photojournalism Award Winner
This year’s winner, Paula Bronstein, is a United States freelance photojournalist currently working in Kyiv.
Bronstein is best known for her work documenting humanity and covering compelling issues with extensive expertise in many of the world’s conflict regions. She is also the author of the internationally acclaimed photo book “Afghanistan: Between Hope and Fear,” published by the University of Texas Press in 2016.
Beginning in 2002, Bronstein joined the news teams at The New Haven Register, The Hartford Courant, The Chicago Tribune, The Register-Guard, and Getty Images, progressively. She’s also spent extensive time as a freelance photojournalist in Bangkok covering the South Asia region of the world.
Bronstein has received numerous awards throughout her long career that spans almost four decades, including being nominated as a finalist for the Breaking News 2011 Pulitzer Prize. In addition, she’s been honored and recognized by the Bayeux Calvados-Normandy Award for War Correspondents, the British Journalism Awards, the Festival of Ethical Photography, the International Photography Awards, the International Women’s Media Foundation, the Overseas Press Club of America, the National Press Photographers Association, the Prix de la Photography, the Thailand Foreign Correspondents Club, and World Press Photo.
Bronstein’s exhibitions have been presented in Australia, Belgium, Croatia, England, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Korea, the United Arab Emirates, and across the United States.
Bronstein remarked, “My portfolio shows the diversity of my career, how I work, and how I see. From war to natural disaster, to epidemics and addiction; it’s never easy. But it’s important to be able to bear witness in a way that’s not graphic or exploitive, to make a strong statement, and – when needed – hold power to account.”
Bronstein continued, “As a veteran journalist, and a woman, it’s so meaningful for me to accept this award. To know Anja and to receive this in her name, means that my age doesn’t matter: my passion for my work, my energy, and my ability to do my job is what matters. The industry does not always view women in this way, and I am proud to portray what’s possible.”
Courage in Photojournalism Honorees
Honoree and photojournalist Carol Guzy specializes in long-term documentary human interest projects, spot news and feature stories, both domestic and international, as well as local daily assignments and editing for book projects.
Guzy was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and completed her studies at Northampton County Area Community College. Guzy then studied photography at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and simultaneously interned, and was then hired, at The Miami Herald. She spent eight years at the newspaper before moving to Washington, D.C., and became a staff photographer at The Washington Post, where she continued to work until 2014.
Guzy is the only journalist to receive a fourth Pulitzer Prize, which was awarded for her coverage of the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010. Previously, she was honored twice with the Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography for her coverage of the military intervention in Haiti and the devastating mudslide in Armero, Colombia. Guzy received a third Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for her work in Kosovo.
Guzy was named Photographer of the Year by the National Press Photographers Association three times and eight times by the White House News Photographers Association. In 1990 she became the first woman to receive the Newspaper Photographer of the Year Award from the National Press Photographers Association. In 2018 Guzy was awarded the Robert Capa Gold Medal for her efforts documenting the effect of the war on ISIS on the civilians of Mosul, Iraq.
Guzy is currently a contract photographer with ZUMA Press and is on assignment covering the conflict in Kyiv.
Guzy commented, “I strive to make images that illuminate those who are most vulnerable and mired in the shadow of man’s inhumanity. As journalism evolves, so does the definition of courage; Anja’s legacy is her spirit of bravery and empathy. There are few honors that mean as much as being part of her legacy.”
Farzana Wahidy is an award-winning Afghan documentary photographer and the first woman photographer in Afghanistan to work with international media agencies.
Wahidy was born in Kandahar and moved to Kabul where attended school during the Afghan civil war and continued her education underground during the Taliban regime. After high school, Wahidy enrolled in a two-year program with AINA Photojournalism Institute, and in 2004, she began working as a photographer for Agence France Presse and later joined the Associated Press.
Wahidy has received numerous awards and grants from organizations such as the Open Society Institute, National Geographic All Roads Film and Photography Program, the University of Missouri, and Mountain Film. In 2016 Wahidy received the Premier’s Award for Creative Arts and Design. Her work has also been published in international magazines and newspapers and she has completed numerous assignments for NGOs and exhibited internationally.
In 2014, Wahidy created a project to train Afghan photographers, to review copyright law, and to research the history of photography in Afghanistan. In 2016 she established the Afghanistan Photographers Association. Wahidy is currently teaching photography at Bennington College as a visiting faculty member.
Wahidy said, “For many years I accepted that stories about Afghan women only showed them from one perspective – the perspective of foreign photographers. Through my own work, I have come to realize that it’s critical to show a broader view of Afghan women, especially the unseen stories of their resistance and accomplishments.” Wahidy continued, “What most people call courage for me is simply my everyday life. To be honored for this work means a great deal to me, because we have a long way to go to bring an Afghan perspective to the world.”
About the International Women’s Media Foundation
Founded in 1989, the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) is the only global non-profit organization that offers emergency support, safety training, grants, reporting opportunities and funding avenues specifically for women 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.
Director of Communications