Brothers Juan and Manuel Rodríguez Castilla, Hinojos Cemetery, 2021. In this precise location, next to the current chapel of Cristo del Perdón, is the grave where their father is buried. His mother was asked to sign a document reporting her husband as missing or dead in the war, but she did not sign, and therefore could not receive an orphan's pension for her children.

© María Clauss


Last days to participate in the 27th edition of the Luis Valtueña International Humanitarian Photography Award

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The 27th edition of the Luis Valtueña International Award for Humanitarian Photography is counting down to the 2023 edition, inviting photojournalists from all over the world to submit their projects until 20 October at 12 midnight (Madrid time, Spain).

In more than a quarter of a century, hundreds of photographers, amateurs and professionals from around the world have participated in the competition, helping to shed light on stories that deserve to be told, through photographs that inform, move, and inspire action and awareness.

For 27 years, Médecins du Monde has been a strong supporter of humanitarian photographers, creating opportunities to highlight key human rights issues. This prestigious and historic award has its own hallmark of promoting humanitarian photography as a means of documenting human rights violations and denouncing injustice around the world. In other words, it seeks to promote documentary photography that illuminates forgotten places, gives voice to the silenced and recalls crises that must be remembered.

The deadline for submissions is 20 October. The jury, composed of international photography professionals, will meet in November to decide on the winner and runners-up. The result will be published in the media at the end of that month. The winner will receive a cash prize of 6000 euros, and all selected works will be included in the travelling exhibition and associated catalogue.

The exhibition of the selected works and the award ceremony will take place in Madrid in 2024, after which the images will travel to different cities both inside and outside Spain.

Serie Red Black White © Nazik Armenakyan
Serie Red Black White © Nazik Armenakyan

The previous edition received 733 nominations (6531 images) and photographic series from 94 countries: the largest number came from Spain (79), Italy (60), India (48), Iran (41), Russia (41), France (31), USA (27), Germany (25), Argentina (24) and Bangladesh (24). This edition had a markedly female protagonism, with more than 30% participation – a higher figure than in other international competitions – and where, for the first time in the history of the Prize, a woman won the top prize, María Clauss, whose work invited us to make an exercise of memory and reconstruction of the past.

The other three finalists also showed how they looked at invisible realities. The Armenian photographer Nazik Armenakyan focused on women with HIV in her country. Federico Ríos showed the dangerous crossing of the Darién Gap that thousands of people face every year to reach the American dream at the Central American border. Santi Palacios took the audience to the Ukrainian town of Bucha, infamous as a symbol of the rights violations perpetrated during the Russian invasion. Mexico’s Sáshenka Gutiérrez won a special mention for her coverage of a breast cancer survivor who has conveyed a unique and hopeful vision of the fight against this tough disease.

Origin of the award

The competition’s commitment to social awareness has remained intact since it was created in 1997 in remembrance of fellow Médicos del Mundo aid workers Flors Sirera, Manuel Madrazo, Mercedes Navarro and Luis Valtueña, who were murdered while carrying out humanitarian work in countries in armed conflict. Luis Valtueña, a photographer by profession, was killed in Rwanda almost 27 years ago in the conflict between the Hutus and the Tutsis. This is the way in which Médecins du Monde turned the pain of a loss into a legacy of awareness and memory to share with society.

Rules of participation and prize

Photographers of any nationality, over 18 years of age and with a photojournalistic and documentary approach, may participate with a maximum of 10 images in digital format (*.jpg).

The theme of the photos must tell a story related to health, humanitarian action, international cooperation, social exclusion, armed conflicts, natural disasters or refugee or immigrant populations. In short, photos that reflect the violation of any human rights, especially the right to health.

All entries must be registered through the Picter platform.

See the full rules here

The high quality of the production of the work is made possible thanks to Fujifilm Spain and the itinerancy in Spain is possible thanks to the support of the Seur Foundation. This new edition also has the valuable collaboration of the International Centre of Photography and Film (EFTI).

Key dates

Friday, 20th October: Closing date for the call for entries.

Friday, 27th October: Deadline for the rectification of errors.

November 2023: Jury decision.

2024: awards ceremony, exhibition opening and catalogue publication.

We are waiting for your story. The world deserves to know it.