Freedom to Love winners

23 December 2014

Exhibitions, Competitions

The winner of Accademia Apulia UK Freedom to Love photography award 2014 is Liza Van Der Stock from Belgium who documented the life of male sex workers in Zanzibar. The two runner-ups are Shahria Sharmin and Gordon Welters.

Liza Van Der Stock highlights the life of male sex workers in Zanzibar, a predominantly muslim island, burdened by the double stigma associated with sex work and sexual orientation. Members of this community find it impossible to openly express their true identity.

An award-winning photographer from Bangladesh, Sharmin’s work gives an insight into the world of the Hijras’ Third Gender communities who live on the margins of society, whilst disability has been  the focus of Welters’ work. The photographer from Berlin captured a glimpse of hope expressed thorough the selfless love of a volunteer at a day centre in Russia.

Speaking for the Jury, Dr Michael Pritchard, Director-General of The Royal Photographic Society commented: “The judges were impressed by the range of subjects covered by the entries. The three winners were able to highlight different aspects of discrimination and were also able to present a positive, personal, side for their subjects. The entries highlight that governments, NGOs and societies generally, still have much to do to ensure that diverse groups of people can co-exist and love without threat”

The works of Liza Van Der Stock, Shahria Sharmin and Gordon Welters, together with 20 other short-listed photographers will be showcased at the London College of Communication, Elephant & Castle, SE1 6SB, between 12-17 January 2015. 

Judging the submissions were Anne Williams, London College of Communication – Bradley Secker, photojournalist - Michael Pritchard, The Royal Photographic Society - Roger Tooth, The Guardian - Sue Steward, photographic critic, The Evening Standard.

With the support of The Royal Photographic Society, and under the patronage of Amnesty International, the European Commission and the British Council, Freedom to Love aims to raise awareness on the difficulties many people endure every day worldwide, as they try to express the most powerful and constructive human quality - love.

Launched in October 2008, Accademia Apulia UK is a non-profit organisation based in London, fostering a cultural and professional exchange and innovation between communities worldwide.

The commitment to nurture an international cultural dialogue is reflected in the annual Photography Award, the aim of which is to champion diversity in a fast-changing world, whilst at the same time inspiring artists from different communities to reflect upon the importance of social inclusion.

The wining photographs can be seen HERE

Image: Liza Van der Stock.