French Photojournalist Laurence Geai Receives IWMF 2023 Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award
Winning portfolio chronicles conflict in Central Africa, the Middle East and Ukraine
[May 31, 2023 – WASHINGTON, DC] – The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) today announced freelance photojournalist Laurence Geai as its ninth annual recipient of the Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award. The prestigious award recognizes women photojournalists who document humanity amid conflict and challenges facing marginalized communities worldwide. The award was created in honor of German Associated Press photojournalist Anja Niedringhaus, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2014.
Geai’s winning portfolio, and the bulk of her work in photojournalism, includes reporting from the Central African Republic (CAR), Iraq, Israel, Palestine and Syria, as well as recent images taken during the war in Ukraine. Based in Paris, Geai’s photojournalism concentrates on inequity, migration, politics and war – especially how conflict impacts the most vulnerable members of war-torn communities; notably, women and children.
“Photojournalists must see through the flood of misinformation, and the noise of social networks, to bring truth to our world,” said Geai. “In my line of work, I’ve witnessed that we don’t learn from war: we continue the habits of conflict again and again. I believe Anja’s reporting pushed against mainstream news coverage; she pursued every angle in every dark corner. It’s an honor to receive this award – I am deeply grateful to the IWMF and the jury for their support.”
Two additional honorees were recognized this year due to their remarkable bravery and strength of their portfolios: Korean American photojournalist Yunghi Kim and French photojournalist Veronique de Viguerie. Kim’s work, captured across four decades in Korea, Rwanda, Kosovo and the United States, charts fast-moving and complex news events captured during intense moments of global crisis. de Viguerie’s portfolio challenges stereotypes surrounding women in Afghanistan, revealing the strength of a courageous community who are typically misrepresented.
“Anja’s legacy, simply stated, was to report where others may not look and bring women-led, visual journalism to people around the world” said IWMF Executive Director Elisa Lees Muñoz. “The IWMF is proud to recognize Laurence, Yunghi and Veronique in this spirit and honor the importance, and nuance, of a woman’s lens in the field of photojournalism.”
This year’s jury included editors, IWMF board members and photojournalists Corinne Dufka, Whitney Johnson, René Jones, Benny Snyder, Sandra M. Stevenson and Bernadette Tuazon, who reviewed 78 qualifying portfolios from 35 countries. Following selection, the jury issued the following statement:
“This year’s winner and honorees demonstrated a remarkable breadth and depth of skill within their portfolios. Their collective commitment to different communities across time was notable, especially given the range of conflict they’ve experienced across several decades of work. Each was able to capture the raw emotion of their subjects – particularly grief, struggle and triumph. Together they sought out stories rather than simply being present, which mimics the vision, style and work ethic of Anja. Our congratulations to Laurence, Yunghi and Veronique.”
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, Laurence Geai, is a French freelance photojournalist currently working in Paris.
Geai began her work in photojournalism in 2014, following a degree in international trade and professional experience in the fashion industry. Her career change led her to television broadcast reporting and then photography. Geai became deeply interested in the roots of war and traveled to the Central African Republic (CAR) early in her career, followed by Syria, Iraq, Israel and Palestine. She’s also covered the consequences of the refugee crisis in Europe and France.
In her work, Geai tries to meet the protagonists of each conflict, whenever possible. In 2022, she joined the agency MYOP and collaborates with several publications, including Le Monde, Paris Match, Polka, Elle, La Vie, Marianne, Télérama, Le Nouvel Obs, Le Pelerin, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, M le Magazine and others. Geai also photographs extensively for nonprofit organizations.
In 2021, Geai won a World Press Photo award (third prize in the General Information category) for her series on the COVID-19 pandemic in France. Her other accolades include the 2020 Grand Prix Les Femmes S’exposent, a Reuters Grant, Wars first prize, third prize in the Sciences PO Political Photograph Contest, first prize in the Single Shot Award of the Festival Della Fotografia Etica and Polka Photographer of the Year.
Geai remarked, “When you see people suffering, it’s hard to take their picture – you must learn to work amidst conflict with care. It’s true that often you see the worst of humanity, but you also see the best, and that’s what I hope to convey: what it looks like – and feels like – to get to the heart of a situation and tell someone’s story to the world.”
Geai continued, “I am humbled to receive this award, especially in the year I first became a mother! My work can feel small compared to Anja’s talent, but this award encourages me to carry the torch in her legacy.”
Courage in Photojournalism Honorees
Yunghi Kim is a photojournalist who has covered conflict and in-depth, issue-driven stories worldwide for almost four decades, including famine in Somalia (where she was held hostage ) and sexual slavery of the South Korean Comfort Women.
Kim immigrated to the United States from South Korea at 10 years old. She graduated from Boston University in 1984 and began her career as a photographer at The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, MA, where she was the first woman photographer hired in the photography department. Kim then moved to The Boston Globe working as a staff photographer for seven years. In 1995 she became a member of Contact Press Images.
Kim’s professional accolades include the Olivier Rebbot and the John Faber Awards from the Overseas Press Club, the National Press Photographers Association’s Clifton Edom Award and Joseph Costa Award, Pictures of the Year International (including Magazine Photographer of the Year 1997), the Visa D’Or for News, The White House Press Photographers, and World Press Photo, as well as a Distinguished Alumni Award from Boston University’s School of Communication. She was also the 1993 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Feature Photography for her work of Somalia famine.
Kim has also served as a speaker at the Nieman Narrative Journalism Conference at Harvard University. She’s a former member of NPPA’s Board of Directors and a 2012 recipient of the United Nations’ Leadership Award in the field of photography, awarded by The International Photographic Council. Kim’s also served on the faculty of World Press Photo, Eddie Adams and Missouri Photo Workshop.
In 2015, Kim instituted a grant to photojournalists – The Yunghi Grant – and in 2022, awarded $18,000 in grants to six photojournalists. Since its inception, the grant’s funded $100,000 to working photojournalists.
In 2021, Kim debuted a short documentary film, in collaboration with and directed by veteran photojournalist Bill Frakes, “Unflinching Grace,” which looks back on decades of reporting by three women photojournalists.
Veronique de Viguerie, a multi-awarded (one World Press Photo, two Visa d’Or, two Bayeux Prizes at the war correspondent festival, one Canon Prize for best women photographer, and one Lagardere prize for young photographer) is a photojournalist represented by Getty Reportage and Verbatim Photo Agency, and is based in Paris.
De Viguerie began her study of photojournalism in England following the completion of a master’s degree in law in France. In 2004, she spent three years working and living in Afghanistan. Since that time, she’s covered stories from Iraq, Somalia, Lebanon, Kashmir, Mexico, Algeria, Guatemala, Pakistan, Niger, Nigeria, Mali, Syria and other locations.
De Viguerie’s work, “Afghanistan Insh’Allah,” was exhibited in Visa pour l’Image in Perpignan, in Paris and at the Scoop Festival in Angers; “The Oil War in Nigeria” was exhibited at the Bayeux festival for the war correspondents. Her pictures are regularly published in Paris-Match, Le Figaro Magzine, the New York Times, Newsweek, El Pais, Stern, Der Spiegel, Geo, Marie Claire, Mail on Sunday, the Guardian and l’Optimum, among other outlets.
De Viguerie aims to show the world not in black and white but in colors with all its complexities. She received wide recognition for photographing the Taliban in Afghanistan, pirates in Somalia, oil pirates in Nigeria and the Sicaraias (women killers) in Colombia and the Mouvement National pour la Libération de l’Azawad (MNLA) in Mali, the Rebels in RCA.
In 2006 de Viguerie published her first book, “Afghanistan, Regards Croises,” with Marie Bourreau. She has since published “Carnets de Reportage du XXIe siècle” in 2011 and “Profession: Reporter” – again with Manon Querouil Bruneel – in 2015. In 2012, de Viguerie was chosen as one of the three photographers by HBO for the documentary series “Witness” based on her work following the Arrow Boys in South Sudan.
About the International Women’s Media Foundation
The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) is the only global organization built to serve the holistic needs of women and nonbinary journalists. We are a bold and inclusive organization that supports journalists where they are with awards, reporting opportunities, fellowships, grants, safety training and emergency aid. As one of the largest supporters of women-produced journalism, our transformative work strengthens equal opportunity and press freedom worldwide. Follow the IWMF on Twitter at @IWMF, on Facebook at @IWMFPage, on Instagram on @TheIWMF and on TikTok @theiwmf.
Media Contact: Charlotte Fox, firstname.lastname@example.org