Istanbul Photo Awards exhibition kicks off in New York

Photographs covering major events around the world over past year being exhibited at UN headquarters until Oct. 29

An exhibition featuring a selection of photographs from the international news photography competition, the Istanbul Photo Awards 2021, kicked off in New York on Monday. 

An opening ceremony was held at the newly-inaugurated Turkevi Center, or Turkish House, in New York City.

Anadolu Agency board member Ismail Caglar, and Oguz Enis Peru, the agency's deputy director-general, also attended the ceremony.

As many as 40 photographs covering major events around the world over the past year are being exhibited at the UN headquarters until Oct. 29.

Feridun Sinirlioglu, Turkey's permanent representative to the UN, said the exhibition is the first cultural event at the Turkevi Center.

He said they are pleased to know that interest in the photography contest, annually organized by Anadolu Agency, has increased over the years.

Stressing that the exhibition includes photographs reflecting the devastating effects of COVID-19 from different perspectives, as well as creativity, self-sacrifice, and determination, he said that some photos reveal the suffering of those who lost their loved ones in wars and disasters, and the effects of climate change.

“I hope the exhibition strengthens our collective will to resolve a multitude of issues fairly, inclusively and quickly,” he added.

In his speech, Peru said last year's most important event was undoubtedly the coronavirus pandemic that affected the entire world.

Bangladeshi Mohammed Shajahan's photo titled "Mom Love" won the Photo of the Year Award.

Explaining that award-winning photographers have revealed developments in different parts of the world with their works in war, conflict and disaster regions, including Azerbaijan, Syria, and Lebanon, Peru said: "We believe that photography has the power to reach all borders, and as Anadolu Agency, we attach great importance to photography."

The Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations helped open the exhibition that is sponsored by Turkish Airlines and the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA).

The seventh edition of the awards and the exhibition are both organized by Anadolu Agency.

The international jury of nine, including photojournalists and a visual storyteller, decide the winners every year.

Alain Schroeder won the first prize in the sports story category with his “Dead Goat Polo” entry depicting the Kyrgyz national sport Kok Boru. 

The Belgian photographer told Anadolu Agency that he visited Kyrygyztan in 2020.

“I was only going to stay for three weeks, but when the COVID-19 pandemic started, I had to stay for six months,” he said.

“… I traveled to mountainous, beautiful areas again. I took some photos. In winter, I went there again in November and December and took these photos,” he added.

Schroeder said that he was extremely happy to have won an award with the photographs he took while he was locked in Kyrgyzstan during the pandemic.

James Wellford, who was among the jury members of the Istanbul Photo Awards 2016 and is currently the senior editor of National Geographic, said: "Thank you for your invitation to the exhibition. I am pleased to come here and see the exhibition. It is extraordinary that you have so many categories,” he added.

The opening ceremony was attended by Turkey's Consul General in New York, Reyhan Ozgur, as well as foreign mission representatives and foreign journalists.

Hakan Copur, Washington Bureau Chief for Anadolu Agency, showed the guests around the exhibition.

More information about the awards and the winning photos can be found on the event’s website,

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