Third Prize Winner of Long Term Project | World Press Photo 2020
A photojournalistic photograph’s intent is to inform and educate, and eventually, fuel the commencement of necessary reparations. Since 1955, the World Press Photo Awards has been an instrumental force in this arena, by bringing harrowing stories of terror, as well as those of hope and resilience. These stories scream vociferously of the world’s apathy against its citizens, that we need to do better. The foundation has announced the winners of the contest on its online channels on the 16th of April. Here is a look at the photographs from the 63rd edition of the awards.
Third prize: Daniele Volpe, Italy
Ixil Genocide: During the 1980s, in the midst of the 1960–1996 Guatemalan Civil War, the state-backed military identified all indigenous Maya peoples as guerilla supporters. The Ixil Maya community, who live near the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes in western Guatemala, were the targets of a genocide operation. The Ixil were subject to systematic rape, forced displacement, starvation and massacre. By 1996, some 7,000 Ixil had been killed. The violence was particularly extreme from 1979–1985 as successive administrations and the military pursued a scorched-earth policy in the region. A United Nations truth commission later revealed that between 70% and 90% of Ixil villages had been burned to the ground and some 60% of the population forced to flee to the mountains. Victims of the military were often buried in clandestine mass graves, while many survivors in mountain areas, isolated from health care, died from malnutrition and treatable diseases. In 2013, Jose Efraín Ríos Montt, who ruled Guatemala in 1982 and 1983, was tried for genocide and crimes against humanity. Although found guilty, he was acquitted at a second trial—which cited procedural errors unrelated to any of the testimony—and died unpunished five years later. Nevertheless, the trial was seen as a milestone in holding those responsible for the atrocities to account, and as a contribution to an accurate account of what happened in the civil war. Today, many survivors are still searching for the remains of their dead relatives. Exhumations play an important role in gathering evidence of civilian massacres and in reconciling survivors with their grief, as they are at last able to give their loved ones a dignified burial.
The photographer has lived in Guatemala for 13 years and worked as a volunteer with the Recuperation of Historical Memory project, listening to the stories of Guatemalan people. He sees this photo project as his contribution to fortifying the historical memory of the country, as a tool for Guatemalan people so they do not forget.Tags: Contest, Daniele Volpe, documentary photography, Genocide, Italy, Ixil, long term projects, Photo series, photojournalism, Photojournalists, Winner, winners, World Press Photo, World Press Photo Awards