The Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Prize 2009 awarded to photographer Kai Wiedenhöfer


The German photographer Kai Wiedenhöfer has been declared the winner of the first ever Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Prize


The German photographer Kai Wiedenhöfer has been declared the winner of the first ever Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Prize. The panel of judges, chaired by the photographer, filmmaker and artist William Klein, was composed of:

–     Christian Caujolle, journalist, author, exhibition curator, and founder of the
VU gallery and agency
–     Guillaume Herbaut, photographer, founder member of the Oeil Public agency
–     Fabrice Hergott, director of the Museum of Modern Art in the City of Paris
–     Jean‐Luc Marty, editorial director and editor-in-chief of Géo magazine
–     Alain Mingam, photojournalist , exhibition curator and agent
–     Vivienne Walt, correspondent for Time Magazine

The subject given to photographers for the 2009 Prize was “The Gaza Strip”.

Fourteen candidates from eight different countries were short-listed from 76 entries. They were selected as much for their extremely well-researched projects as for the outstanding quality of their photographs, demonstrating thoroughness in their work.

The panel’s discussions focused first on the quality of the photographic work together with the photographer’s chosen approach and unique perspective. Next, they examined the originality of the written proposals and the capacity of each candidate to present a fresh and meaningful view.

At the end of a first round of very lively analysis, the work of three finalists offering differing approaches was singled out: Kai Wiedenhöfer from Germany, Eman Mohammed from Palestine and Lizzie Sadin from France.

In its discussions, the judges made special mention of the quality and sensitivity of the work of 22-year old Eman Mohammed on the condition of Palestinian women, for which he was awarded the judges’ Special Prize.

The panel finally decided to award the project to Kai Wiedenhöfer.

As winner of the 2009 Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Prize, Kai Wiedenhöfer will now go back to the Gaza Strip to witness and record its reconstruction since the last Israeli attack in January 2009.

He will produce a further series of photographs based around three themes:
–         The debris: the scars of the bombardments of the city and how the Palestinians have found a new way of life in makeshift homes.
–         The siege: daily life in the blockade, food supplies, pollution, psychological distress, water, the wall, the Rafah crossing point.
–         The remains of the Israeli settlements: returning to the places he photographed in the summer of 2005 at the time of the Israeli army’s withdrawal.
Since 1990, this committed photographer has been engaged in a massive documentary project on daily life in the occupied territories. Kai Wiedenhöfer stood out for the consistent way he has monitored, treated and explored the conflict between Israel and Palestine. A fluent Arabic speaker, he shows an attachment and understanding that go beyond the news headlines, delving below the surface of moments of tension and extreme violence to produce a coherent documentary record. This approach follows a humanist tradition that questions what it finds with sensitivity, avoiding any lapse into stylised representation, in order to convey reality in all its complexity.

Kai Wiedenhöfer’s photographic work also stands out for its capacity to be invigorated with fresh ideas. Having started working in Gaza primarily using black and white in the reporting tradition, he now adopts a more reflective photographic style with panoramic compositions in colours conveying an original, bold and highly contemporary style.

Kai Wiedenhöfer, “Playing with a plastic gun. Children in a refugee camp replicate the world of adults.”

The 2009 Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Prize timetable:

–         Delivery of the photographic report: Spring 2010
–         Exhibition and publication of the monograph: Autumn 2010


With this prize, Carmignac Gestion aims each year to support photojournalists who, through their work, are at the forefront of events and uphold the values of courage, independence, transparency and sharing.

A subject directly connected to current affairs will be given to international professional photojournalists; they will have five months to produce a report proposal.  The photojournalists are free to choose how they want to treat each year’s subject – for example from a political, economic, social or cultural angle.

An independent panel of judges will select a project which will receive €50,000 in funding. To launch the report and raise its profile among the general public, an exhibition will be arranged and a book published.

The report project will be selected based on the following criteria: the photojournalist’s commitment, the relevance of the subject in the context of the prize’s values and the proposed creative idea, the originality of the subject, the coherence of the report and the treatment of the image.

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    • Alba Etrusque

      Why does this piece not include examples of Kai Wiedenhöfer’s award-winning photography?