Kosovo: land of blackbirds, and the memory of death. Memory, above all. And yet this is the center not only of the most innocent and profound Christian spirituality in the Balkans, but also of the most sublime and little known Muslim mysticism.
This is a story that paints a frank and troubling humanitarian portrait of the effects of war, and the many kinds of people who get swept up in its path. More than three years after the start of the Syrian war, the country's second-largest city, Aleppo, is nearly a ghost town. Whole swaths of the city are abandoned and lie in ruin. The civilians who remain in the city live a life of fear and grief as their families, friends, and neighbors are killed and wounded by President Bashar al-Assad’s indiscriminate campaign to regain control of the city.
Pavel Lebedev is 23 years old. He is wearing an orange shirt and an insecure smile. I met Pavel the previous day when he told me how he made the tough decision to come out of the closet. And he told me about the price he had to pay for following his heart. Now, he was being yelled at once again.
After Tajikistan’s civil war in the mid-nineties—and the economic collapse that followed the USSR’s disintegration—many Tajik people found themselves in a state of flux. Electricity, coal, and gas supplies had been cut, thus forcing many factories—the primary source of employment—to shutter. With no more jobs, the relatively high cost of living in Tajikistan forced people to look elsewhere for employment. For many, economic emigration to Russia was the obvious answer.
Beyond the headlines of the notoriously high gun and gang violence in Chicago, there is the debilitating loss of human capital in many communities of the city’s South and West Sides. For the last 28 months, I have been documenting the efforts of one man—“Brother" Jim Fogarty—who works to help people in the Back of the Yards reinvest in themselves and the transformation of their neighborhood.
This is the story of Ruslan, a single disabled father raising his sick son, Vitya, in the Russian city of Pskov. Ruslan’s daily life is complicated. Restricted to a wheelchair, his time is predominantly occupied by concerns of transportation and the struggle to provide food and safety for young Vitya. The family is really on the edge.
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious, potentially debilitating condition that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a natural disaster or major accident. Most people who experience such events will recover, but people with PTSD can continue to live with severe mental injury for months or years following the incident. This project aims to depict the heavy psychological pain and distress suffered by survivors of 2013’s Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh—a disaster which claimed 1,129 lives and left over 2,500 injured survivors.
Destino portrays the perilous journey by cargo train of Central American migrants in pursuit of a better life in the United States. For the past six years, I have traveled with migrants along the network of freight trains crisscrossing Mexico to tell the story of a generation displaced by conflict, in a landscape that is becoming increasingly dangerous.
Since 1999, Kurdish asylum seekers in Italy have found refuge at Rome’s Ararat Center. Many guests of the center have been the victims of torture and repression in Turkey, others are escaping from ISIS attacks in Iraq and Syria, but all have come to Italy first as they start new lives in Europe.
In northern Morocco there are two coastal cities cut-off from the rest of the African continent. Melilla and Ceuta are autonomous Spanish ports—European exclaves—and for scores of African migrants they represent a gateway to Europe. Migrants routinely attempt to scale the walls that surround each city, but the dangerous climb is just one of many obstacles they must pass if they are to be successful. Death and injury are common in this scramble to reach Europe by any means necessary.
For the past three years, an annual, secret summer camp has been held for women and children in Sweden who've been subjected to domestic and honor violence. The nature and beauty of the camp, which is organized by the Women's Rights Organization in Malmö, is meant to bring some sort of normalcy to the difficult lives of its attendees. Children play and smile, some take a bath in the lake for the first time, and mothers and children have the opportunity to do things together without fear.
“Koodankulam: In my Backyard“ is a set of photographs from the uprising of the local community against the Indian and Russian Government on the commissioning of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP). The people have been protesting for more than 1200 days post Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, in a non-violent and peaceful manner, and have been repeatedly subject to violence by the government forces attempting to clamp down on the protesters.
Catchlight’s Activist Awardsidentify outstanding work by photographers in collaboration with nonprofit organizations worldwide, with prizes ranging from $5,000-$15,000. This year we received 256 submissions from 54 different countries, and awarded $15,000 to a professional and $5,000 to an emerging photographer.
We're excited to announce that we are relaunching PhotoPhilantropy in a new direction and changing our name to Catchlight. Our focus will remain on visual stories and social impact, and in addition we will now partner with media organizations to broadly share the best stories across traditional and inventive new channels, as well as through live and virtual events.