Award-winning photographer depicts stories of refugees

'I sometimes wait months to take a single photograph,' says Iranian contestant

Runner-up of the 2018 Istanbul Photo Awards Enayat Asadi described to Anadolu Agency his experiences since 2009 of photography focusing on refugees and human trafficking.

With nine years of photo journalistic experience, Asadi’s entry came second place in the photography expo in the ‘Story News’ category.

“I pursue stories by first listening to myself, then observing the events around me,” he said, adding that this is the only way to grasp people’s genuine emotions.

Beginning his career in Afghanistan where he aimed to capture the civil war from his lens, he returned to Iran in 2011 to conduct various projects.

Participating in the Istanbul contest for the first time, Asadi’s entry dealt with Afghan refugees fleeing Daesh and other dangers in their country.

“I sometimes wait months to take a single photograph,” he said, speaking of the difficult journey from Afghanistan through Pakistan to Iran in which he took part along with the people he observed.

Saying that he examined several other photo expos before deciding to participate in the Istanbul Photo Awards, Asadi described the experience as “valuable”.

“When you look at especially the sponsors, participants and jury of the Istanbul Photo Awards, you can already see the high quality of the competition,” he said.

Currently focusing on refugees on the Turkish-Iranian border and their trek to Greece, Asadi’s plans include observing refugee experiences from the Arabian Sea to Pakistan to the western frontier of Tehran and from there to Turkey and finally Greece.

The Istanbul Photo Awards is an international news photography contest organized by Anadolu Agency aiming to contribute to the sphere of news photography and offer a perspective shaped by the region’s unique position at the center of diverse cultures. 

The contest received 37,000 applications from 125 countries and the international jury rewarded 27 photographers from 22 countries in single and story categories of news, sports, portrait, nature and environment, and daily life.

Professional photographers may submit their entries for 2019 from Nov. 1 to Jan. 31 at

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