The FotoEvidence Book Awards exhibition is unfit of any review, because the challenge it poses to write anything to encompass the weight of the images is far too great.

The clean white walls of the FotoEvidence Book Awards were a startling contrast to the images that hung upon them. The intimate reception, attended by the photographers, friends, peers, and the odd journalist like myself, was the ideal way to appreciate the photographs featured by the winner and runners-up from the 2012 book contest.

Any occasion larger and you may miss the haunting look in a child’s eye, the shadow cast across the face of a migrant worker, or the detail of the note tied to the arm of a man who had died of tuberculosis. A note that simply says, “Soloviyov Gennadity died on the 12th of October at 08:30.”

The FotoEvidence Book Awards are not for the faint of heart, people who choose not to read the news, who switch the channel when something sad comes on. The photographs featured are raw, unapologetic, and thought provoking. They shake up your world, remind you that you’re sipping a glass of red wine in a multimillion dollar building in Brooklyn, and show you the realities of the injustices against women, children, immigrants, and even the incarcerated.

The awards applaud the dedication of the men and women who believe these injustices need to be brought to light, that Enrique, a boy working in the charcoal fields of Ulingan deserves to be seen. Or the tears of Doring Kande who lost her baby after being brutally beaten in Papua New Guinea.

Speaking with Vlad Sokhin, whose project is entitled Crying Meri: Violence Against Women in Papua New Guinea, or the winner of this year’s award for his photographs of the on-going aftermath of the Bhopal disaster, Alex Masi, it is clear that the passion for their projects is overwhelming.

They are not simply photographers, snapping away behind a lens. The pictures they take capture more than one moment in time. They capture a human connection made between the photographer and the human being in the lens. A human connection that FotoEvidence reminds us can exist between, not just a subject and photographer, but all of us.

Written by Claire Matern. Photography © Kevin Downs.



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