Inside Myanmar's armed revolution ©Siegfried Modola, winner of the 27th edition of the Luis Valtueña Humanitarian Photography Award

Inside Myanmar's armed revolution ©Siegfried Modola, winner of the 27th edition of the Luis Valtueña Humanitarian Photography Award


Siegfried Modola is the winner of the 27th edition of the Luis Valtueña Award with a work that makes the armed conflict in Myanmar visible

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  • This edition has had a marked prominence of armed conflicts that are not very visible in the media and the international community: Myanmar and Ethiopia. It also focuses on empty Spain and the Mediterranean migratory route.
  • The jury was made up of renowned professionals from the field as Santi Palacios, Amel Pain and Arianna Rinaldo.
  • There were 743 entries from 96 countries, and the number of photojournalists has been number of photojournalists covering the event from their place of origin has been increased.

Madrid, 28 November 2023. Inside Myanmar’s armed revolution is the title of the work by Italian photographer Siegfried Modola that has won the 27th edition of the Luis Valtueña International Humanitarian Photography Award. Awarded by Médicos del Mundo, which created it in memory of its aid workers murdered in the 1990s, it is a reminder year after year of the importance of photography as a fundamental tool for raising awareness and bearing witness to the human rights violations that occur in every corner of the world.

This year’s award-winning series of ten photographs highlights the conflict in Myanmar, a country that has banned journalists from covering the civil war since its armed forces ousted the democratically elected government in February 2021. According to the United Nations, thousands of people have been killed, some 1.4 million have been displaced and a third of the country’s population is in need of humanitarian aid.

“I am deeply grateful to Médicos del Mundo, to the Luis Valtueña Award and to the jury that has decided to recognise the work. This prestigious award raises awareness of the revolution and the terrible situation in Myanmar, where thousands of people have been killed and almost two million displaced in the last three years”, said Modola after receiving the news.

Spanish photographer Adra Pallón, Argentinean photographer Eduardo Soteras and Spanish photographer Anna Surinyach have been shortlisted as finalists. Pallón, with his work Demotanasia, highlights with this project that contributes to explain that the rural exodus “not only entails an associated social problem that mainly affects elderly people who resist in the territory, but also that rural abandonment generates very worrying environmental problems”. For his part, Soteras travels to Ethiopia and presents Tigray: Ethiopia sinks into chaos, a work on a forgotten conflict in which he denounces the story of the people who are trapped between the sides in a conflict “and who are always the ones who end up paying the bill for each war”, he asserts. Finally, Surinyach tackles the drama of the deaths in transit through the Mediterranean through his work Sea of Mourning.

A total of 743 entries (6,618 images) were submitted to this year’s competition, and photographic series from 96 countries were received. In that order, the largest number came from Spain (68), Iran (64), Italy (54), Brazil (44), India (37), Russia (36), USA (34), Germany (30), France (30) and Bangladesh (30). This year’s edition saw an increase in the number of projects by photographers who portray the reality of their countries in their work.

The winning serie receives a direct prize of 6,000 euros.

An edition marked by the visibility of forgotten conflicts
“Photojournalism, testimony, is now more necessary than ever, in all circumstances, but especially when covering forgotten crises, invisible conflicts such as those in Myanmar and Ethiopia, little covered by the media, which the international community has turned its back on due to the immediacy of new crises, but which, due to their cruel relevance and seriousness, deserve our full attention”, says José Félix Hoyo, vice-president of Médicos del Mundo. The members of the jury agreed in favour of the winner for its coverage of Myanmar, which is seen as a savage war of which. The jury members agreed that the winner was the winner for its coverage of Myanmar, seen as a savage war about which there is hardly any information, from a very well-told angle and shedding light on a conflict as forgotten and censored as the one in Myanmar.

A high-calibre jury
Once again this year, the Luis Valtueña International Award for Humanitarian Photography has counted on renowned professionals in the field of photojournalism who have given their time and knowledge selflessly in favour of the competition. In this 27th edition, the jury was made up of Santi Palacios, photojournalist and editor of Sonda Internacional; Amel Pain, visual journalist and multimedia editor of the EPA agency; Nuria López, documentary photographer; Santiago Escobar Jaramillo, editor of the Raya publishing house; Arianna Rinaldo, freelance curator and editor; and Fran Carrasco, director of communication and political advocacy at Médicos del Mundo.

Exhibition and awards ceremony
The exhibition of the winning works and the prize-giving ceremony will take place in mid-2024, after which the winning images will travel to different Spanish cities and other locations beyond our borders.

History of the Award
The Luis Valtueña International Humanitarian Photography Prize is awarded annually in memory of four Médicos del Mundo aid workers murdered while working on humanitarian action projects: Luis Valtueña, Flors Sirera and Manuel Madrazo in Rwanda in 1997 and Mercedes Navarro in Bosnia in 1995. Valtueña was a photographer by profession and in Spain worked as a reporter for the Cover Agency, which is why this award is named after him.

The competition recognises the work of professionals in the field of photography who, through their images, denounce injustices and abuses or bear witness to those who combat them.

With the launch of this new edition, Médecins du Monde once again demonstrates its firm commitment to humanitarian photography as an essential tool for raising public awareness, bearing witness to human rights violations and denouncing the injustices that occur in many corners of the world.

This edition is possible thanks to the support of Fujifilm Spain, the Seur Foundation and the collaboration of the EFTI International School of Photography.