The SIPA Contest is so much more than just photography awards. It is a festival of events for creatives to network and connect. When Luca Venturi (creator and artistic director) first imagined the festival, he set his target on making Siena the heart of the photography world that would bring photographers together from around the world.
“We are happy to have created a large family, a community with photography at its centre, as a form of international language that connects people of every culture and social background. A dream come true, supported by partners and institutions that together with us continue to invest in the power of imagination and the power that images have to be able to tell stories full of meaning " – Luca Venturi
In addition to the Awards ceremony there are a number of events over the course of the weekend for the photographers to participate in – most of them involve a glass of wine or two! I was asked to speak at the SIPA conference along with six other distinguished photographers who I now count as friends. The conference was held in the University of Siena with an audience of 200. I spoke alongside fellow speakers –
Mary Calvert (USA)- Documentary Photographer - maryfcalvert.com
Philip Coburn (UK) – Editorial Photographer - Philip Coburn LinkedIn
Florian Ledoux (France) – Nature and Wildlife Photographer - www.florian-ledoux.com
Alessio Paduano (ITA) – Editorial Photographer - www.alessiopaduano.it
Hannes Lochner (ZA) – Wildlife Photographer - www.hanneslochner.com
Constanza Portnoy (AR ) – Documentary Photographer - www.constanza-portnoy.com
The conference had an overall title of “The Storytelling Power of Photography” and the talks included human impact in the environment, new ways of approaching journalism, social justice in photography, the coverage of migration issues, modern ways of storytelling, ethical storytelling and more.
The exhibition was officially opened by me at the Ex Distillery Lo Stellino along with the launch of this years “Beyond the Lens” book featuring all the winning photographs. The exhibitions are one of the Festival’s main events, hosted by the most important locations of Siena. The exhibitions will run until Sunday 1 December.
My photograph titled “A boy from the crowd” of a Liberian child trying to retrieve his ball is the overall winner of the fifth Siena International Photography Awards, the photography contest that has the widest international participation
Jurors selected the winning image from photographers from 161 countries.
I received my award at an incredible ceremony on Saturday 26th October, in the historic Teatro dei Rinnovati theatre in Siena, Italy. The event was attended by over 300 photographers plus distinguished guests from all over the world, once again consecrating SIPA as one of the most important photographic awards in the world.
The picture was photographed for the peacebuilding organisation, International Alert who works with people directly affected by conflict to build lasting peace. I had been asked to document their work in Liberia where they supported various programmes to build stability.
One of the projects that I covered was the annual Cultural Festival which sees people from difference cultural, linguistic and ethnic groups coming together to celebrate peace in a country that was torn apart by 14 years of brutal conflict.
In this three-day festival, on the outskirts of Monrovia, the crowd was tens of thousands of people. I was interested in photographing the people attending and the West African peacekeeping troops who were keeping order, as well as the performances themselves.
With any subject, I observe what is happening whilst trying to determine how I can best show what is front of me. I have revisited the digital series of photographs to see how I came to this particular photograph. I am normally so immersed in seeing how to frame the picture and capture the moment that I am unaware of everything else.
I started by photographing the soldiers, but then changed to what was more interesting in the crowd. I had been circling this soldier, when I sensed something occurring behind. Suddenly out of the crowd leaned this boy reaching for his precious ball. This was a child who had grown up in war and had good reason to be scared of soldiers and their guns. He wanted to get his ball back, but his eyes were fixed on the soldier. This all happened in the blink of an eye and resulted in this picture, which seems to represent the precariousness of peace, as seen through the eyes of a young child with little understanding of the greater dynamics at play. All he knew was, he wanted his ball back, but also to stay safe.
“In just a few years the Siena International Photo Awards has become one of the most important photographic competitions in the world - explains Luca Venturi, creator and artistic director of the Festival - A success not only linked to the enthusiasm, dedication and passion of the participants , but also to the fact of wanting to keep in the heart of the "Siena Awards" what was the initial dream. From the beginning we had the courage to imagine that Siena could and should become the capital of photography. and by virtue of this 'crazy idea' we have chosen to organize a festival capable of bringing together photographers from all over the world. We are happy to have created a large family, a community with photography at its centre, as a form of international language that connects people of every culture and social background. A dream come true, supported by partners and institutions that together with us continue to invest in the power of imagination and the power that images have to be able to tell stories full of meaning ".
In addition to the shots of the Sipa, until Sunday December 1 the city of the Palio hosts exhibitions and exhibition events with the protagonists of the images and extraordinary reportages made by the most important international photographers. A unique body of images that will make Siena the world capital of photography.
- Exhibition info: Siena International Photo Awards 2019
- When: 28 October - 1 December 2019.
- Where: Siena , various locations .
My photograph of a storm clearing in the Highlands, photographed with Vismedia during a recent assignment for Drax Group plc has been shortlisted in the Motif Collective “Storms” photography awards.
The photograph was taken as I waited for the low clouds to clear from the Cruachan Power station. I looked back down the valley and saw this incredible moment where the storm clouds still lingered but it was clear in the distance.
The Motif Collective was set up by photographers for photographers as an online gallery to host monthly contests devoted exclusively to fine art photography. Their ultimate goal is to present the finer works of talented Photographers from all over the world to help them become successful in one of the most dynamic and challenging times on the global art scene. The Motif Collective online suite of International Fine Art Photography contests gives artists the opportunity to both be recognised and present their best work to the world.
To see all the winners go to - https://www.motifcollective.com/winners-sep-2019.html
In 2003 DelAgua Health along with the University of Colorado and the Rwanda Ministry of Health embarked on an ambitious project to distribute water filters and fuel-efficient cooking stoves across the country. The program monitored the use of the water filters and cook stoves with the data being used in a health impact study conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Emory University. Between 2014 and 2016 the program reached nearly 2 million people with cookstoves and 500,000 with water filters in 7,500 villages. Nearly a thousand community health workers visited every household on a repeated basis to provide behaviour change messaging, training, and repairs.
In June 2019 the PLoS Med published the results. It was found that the water filters and portable biomass-burning cookstoves reduced the prevalence of reported diarrhea and acute respiratory infection in children under 5 years old by 29% and 25%, respectively. The results suggest that programmatic delivery of household water filters and improved cookstoves can provide a scalable interim solution for rural populations that lack access to safe drinking water and rely on traditional fires for cooking.
“Until now, there has been limited evidence of the effects when these products are delivered at scale,” said Evan Thomas, director of CU Boulder’s Mortenson Center for Global Engineering. “The study demonstrates the viability of bringing water filters and cookstoves to vulnerable households and will help inform future national initiatives.”
Unsafe drinking water and household air pollution are major causes of mortality around the world. An estimated 1.1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water, more than a third of whom rely primarily on open wells and untreated surface water that can be contaminated with human and animal feces.
Cooking indoors on traditional open-fire stoves with solid biomass fuels such as wood and charcoal has been linked with pneumonia, low birth weight and impaired development in children. Household air pollution is also associated with pulmonary and cardiovascular disease in adults. More than 80% of Rwandans rely on firewood as their primary fuel source.
“After neonatal disorders, pneumonia and diarrheal disease are the two leading killers of children under 5 years of age in Rwanda and much of sub-Saharan Africa,” said Professor Thomas Clasen of Emory University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who led the health impact study.
“The results of this randomized controlled trial provide strong evidence that effective interventions can be successfully delivered and embraced by a population at risk, even in remote rural settings.”
In the fall of 2014, over 101,000 households with nearly half a million people from the poorest economic quartile of Rwanda’s Western Province were selected to receive a Vestergaard Frandsen LifeStraw Family 2.0 table-top household water filter and an EcoZoom Dura high efficiency portable wood-burning cookstove together with community and household education and behavior change messaging. Each household was visited approximately every 4 months for a year following the distribution.
The program was financed and led by the social enterprise DelAgua Health (in partnership with the Rwanda Ministry of Health) and branded “Tubeho Neza,” which translates to “live well” in Kinyarwanda.
“DelAgua is delighted that the study has confirmed some of the health benefits of a well-designed large scale intervention as well as the acknowledged reduction in carbon emissions,” said DelAgua Chairman Neil McDougall. “Key to this success has been the ongoing education and support of Rwandan Community Health Workers (CHWs). Without CHW involvement, the intervention would not have demonstrated the same health and other benefits and as such their involvement is integral to the success of this and similar future projects,”
Overall, the results suggest that the program was effective in improving drinking water quality, and reducing risk of diarrhea and respiratory illness among children under 5, pointing the way toward an interim solution for healthier living while cleaner cooking solutions are developed and scaled to reach the poorest.
"The intent was to address the leading causes of illness and death in Rwanda, respiratory disease and diarrhea, especially among the lowest income households," said co-author Dr. Jean de Dieu Ngirabega, who was the director general of Clinical and Health Services in Rwanda Ministry of Health and later the head of the Institute of HIV/AIDS, Disease Prevention and Control in Rwanda Biomedical Center during the course of the program.
"The program's success speaks in part to the hard work of our Community Health Workers, who trained households on the use of these technologies over several years. I am pleased that these results show these positive health benefits can be achieved at scale. It is an opportunity for low-income countries to meet the targets set out in Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG3) for health."
“These results should have important policy implications in Rwanda and beyond. We see strong evidence that the intervention provides significant benefits that might continue to accrue if the program continues to be supported,” said Thomas, an associate professor in the College of Engineering and Applied Science who designed and managed this program for DelAgua from 2012 through 2016.
I documented the project capturing every aspect from issues that were set out to be solved, to the distribution days and community health workers visits. I photographed in a number of different regions and villages to show the extent of the program. I collaborated with DelAgua Health and the Rwandan Ministry of Health to present a powerful set of images which showed the work undertaken. The work has been exhibited around the world, formed a book and won several international photography competitions including being nominated for the Sony World Photography Awards.
See full report article at - University of Colorado
For more information about DelAgua Health go to - DelAgua