Heisler, Schwarz, de Viguerie Win At Perpignan

Sep 11, 2006

PERPIGNAN, FRANCE – The annual Visa pour l’Image photojournalism festival wrapped up in the south of France by naming Todd Heisler of The Rocky Mountain News and Shaul Schwarz of Getty Images as the top Visa d’Or winners, along with Canon making the presentation of its sixth annual Female Photojournalist Award to French freelance photographer Veronique de Viguerie of World Picture Network.

Schwarz was recognized with the Visa d’Or for News for his photographs of the Israeli evacuation of the Gaza strip. Other finalists in the news category were Thomas Dworzak of Magnum Photos for his post-Katrina coverage, and Bruno Stevens of Cosmos for his coverage of African drought.

Heisler was awarded the Visa d’Or for Magazine (feature) for his Pulitzer Prize-winning long-form essay “Final Salute.” Other finalists in the category were Jerome Sessini for coverage of migrants in Mexico, Bruno Stevens for his coverage of cholera victims in Angola, and Tom Stoddart of Getty Images for an essay on Chernobyl.

The Canon Female Photojournalist Award is presented by the French Association of Female Journalists, who said de Viguerie will use the $10,000 USD (8.000 Euros) Canon prize to help fund a new story that she is shooting in Nepal about women who are Maoist guerrillas. The new work is scheduled to be one of the exhibits at Visa pour l’Image in 2007. This year’s Canon award was given to de Viguerie’s for her coverage of Afghanistan.

“She has a gift, she has the ability to become invisible, allowing her subjects to reveal themselves to the camera,” Visa jury member Catherine Lalanne of Pelegrin magazine said of the Canon winner.

Last year’s Canon Female Photojournalist Award winner, Claudia Guadarrama, had her five-year-long photographic essay about illegal immigrants who enter the United States from Mexico exhibited at this year’s Visa pour l’Image.

Also at Perpignan the CARE International Award for Humanitarian Reportage was presented to Hazel Thompson of Eyevine for her story of children behind bars in Filipino jails. The award includes 8.000 Euros ($10,000 USD) and the work was exhibited by CARE in the Palais des Corts at Visa pour l’Image. Another substantial award, the City of Perpignan Young Reporter Award, was given to Tomas van Houtryve for his coverage of Maoist rebels in Nepal. He first traveled here in 1997 as a philosophy student, but has been covering the political unrest there since 2004, Visa says. The City of Perpignan, France, donated the 8.000 Euro ($10,000 USD) prize for this award winner.

David Griffin, the senior editor of photography and illustrations at National Geographic magazine, used the occasion of Perpignan to announce that they will begin awarding a yearly $50,000 USD grant to a professional still photographer whose work most closely relates to the magazine’s mission. Full details are online at www.nppa.org/news.