Honorable Mention – 2017 Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award |

Photojournalist Nicole Tung (b. 1986) is an American citizen born and raised in Hong Kong.

“Nicole Tung’s photographic work shows the devastating effects on civilians and emotional trauma of conflict. Every image is strong and creates a visual harmony while evoking empathy for the visceral grief endured by innocents. Like Anja, Nicole provides balance and a moment of hope giving viewers a breath away from the intensity of war.”

She graduated from New York University in 2009 after studying journalism and history and freelances for many international publications and NGOs, covering the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. After covering the conflicts in Libya and Syria extensively, focusing on the plight of civilians, she spent 2014 documenting the lives of Native American war veterans in the US, as well as former child soldiers in the DR Congo, the protests in Hong Kong, and the refugee crisis in Europe. With the support of the IWMF Grant for Women’s Stories, she is currently exploring the rising violence against women in Turkey, and has also turned her focus to Iraq, documenting the Yazidi population and the offensive for Mosul. Her work often explores those most affected by conflict, either directly, or indirectly.

She has received multiple awards for her work from the International Photo Awards, PX3, and was named PD’s 30 Under 30 Emerging Photographers (2013). Her images on Native American War Veterans was awarded by the Society of Professional Journalists for Best Online Reporting, and the Image and Voices of Hope Award of Appreciation (2015). For her work on the migration crisis in 2015, she received the Human Rights Press Awards in Hong Kong. She has also been in various exhibitions, most recently at the Annenberg Space for Photography in L.A., the Freilicht Museum in Germany, and the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam. Nicole served on the board of the Frontline Freelance Register (2015). She is based in Istanbul, Turkey.

“As a photojournalist covering conflict and socio-political issues, documenting the most exposed and vulnerable people – in both chaos and quiet – is not only a responsibility one has as a photographer, but as a human. I chose to focus on civilians in conflict in my images as a reminder that those most affected by war are not the ones making political decisions or holding the guns, but those who are powerless in the face of a situation they did not choose.”

  Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

 

Nicole Tung’s Photos

Warning: Images contain graphic content

  (c) Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

Men carry the body of Hatem Qureya, 15, after he was trapped under rubble following an airstrike in the neighborhood of Bustan al Qasr in Aleppo, Syria, on Monday, August 6, 2012 which claimed at least eight lives including five children from the same family. Hatem later died en route to the field hospital. At least two people, including a child, were trapped under rubble, complicating rescue attempts.

 
  (c) Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

A young man grieves over the death of his father in the Dar Shifaa hospital in Sha’ar, Aleppo, Syria, on Sunday, August 26, 2012, after he was shot and killed in the crossfire. Civilians are the subject of random, sometimes deliberate, attacks by the Syrian Army in Aleppo, often killed and injured by sniper fire, shelling, or airstrikes.

 
  (c) Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

A woman cries in despair amidst the rubble of her neighborhood moments after an aerial bombardment released four to five parachute bombs in the Karm Homed neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria, on Monday, March 18, 2013. Approximately 26 people were killed and over 60 were injured.

 
  (c) Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

Ahmed, 12, from Sheikh Fares neighborhood, waits with his uncle, right, near the body of his father who was killed by a shell in the Sha’ar neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria, on Friday, August 24, 2012. Ahmed, who saw his father die, was also injured in his back by shrapnel.

 
  (c) Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

A boy carries a white flag indicating he is not a combatant while fleeing from Mosul as Iraqi forces pushed deeper in the ISIS territory, near Gogjali, Iraq, on November 7, 2016. Over 100,000 civilians have fled from Mosul since the start of the offensive in October 2016 to retake the Iraqi city back from the hands of ISIS, which has controlled it for over two years.

 
  (c) Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

A mother cries while she cradles her son Laith, whom she had not seen for two years as they were finally reunited in the car park outside the Hassan Sham camp for internally displaced persons near Mosul, Iraq, on November 7, 2016. Laith was trapped in Mosul when it fell to ISIS in 2014. Laith’s mother, who could not go back to their home in Mosul, was forced to stay outside of ISIS territory, longing for the day to see her son again.

 
  (c) Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

A convoy of men fleeing from Mosul are taken off a truck to be searched and checked against a wanted list of suspected ISIS fighters near the town of Gogjali, Iraq, on November 7, 2016. Iraqi security forces have been conducting rigorous checks on fleeing civilians to ensure they were not collaborating with ISIS, but their methods of interrogation have drawn criticism from rights groups such as Amnesty International, saying that torture and executions of Sunnis is in part due to revenge attacks.

 
  (c) Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

A boy walks through a street near his home in Qayyarah, Iraq, on Thursday, November 10, 2016, as an oil well burns nearby. Many streets and neighborhoods in Qayyarah look apocalyptic, with oil residue covering all surfaces, turning small streets into muddy oil slicks, yet children can still be seen everywhere playing outside. Dozens of oil wells were set on fire as ISIS fighters retreated from the Iraqi Army in August, before the start of the Mosul offensive last month. The oil from Qayyarah provided a huge source of income for ISIS to help finance its activities. Many civilians stayed in their homes during the fight to retake the town and remain there today despite the months of smoke clouds hanging over the town.

 
  (c) Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

Life after ISIS: Men bathe in thermal baths in Hammam al Alil two days after Iraqi forces liberated the town from ISIS as they retreat further into Mosul, on Wednesday, November 9, 2016. As the offensive to retake Mosul continues, over 40,000 civilians have been internally displaced, straining already overloaded camps in the region. Hammam al Alil, under ISIS control for over two years, has seen the return of a trickle of civilians to their homes despite improvised explosive devices left behind and sporadic fighting between ISIS recruits and Iraqi forces.

 
  (c) Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

A soldier with the Yazidi ‘Sun Ladies’ brushes her hair during morning preparations at their base near Sinjar, in Kurdistan, Iraq, on Tuesday, August 30, 2016. The ‘Sun Ladies’, made up of several hundred Yazidi women, some who were formerly enslaved by ISIS, are attempting to fight back against the extremist group with the help of the Kurdish Peshmerga through training, funds, and arms.

In August of 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria launched an attack on the Yazidi population in the Sinjar district of Northern Iraq. Yazidis are one of Iraq’s oldest religious minorities, living in the border areas close to Turkey and Syria. Before 2014, there were an estimated half a million Yazidis. During the August 2014 siege, over 5,000 Yazidis were killed or went missing in and around the Sinjar area, in an ISIS sanctioned campaign to cleanse the population of what they called devil worshippers. Roughly the same number were abducted and enslaved to ISIS fighters. Figures vary widely, but it is believed that up to 3,000 people, mostly women, and some children, are still currently being held in captivity. ISIS systematically sought to enslave Yazidi women with their children, and are passed around through the slave market, with virgin girls fetching higher prices. Stories from escapees have detailed how women were bought, sold, raped, and forcibly married to ISIS fighters, many of whom are foreign.

 
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