​It's all about Freedom: Pride Photo Award and Exhibition


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Once again, the annual Pride Photo Award winners have been announced to the public, and the exhibition is now open in a most unexpected venue: a church. The Oude Kerk (Old Church) in Amsterdam hosts the exhibition until October 16, 2016. The Pride Photo Award was established in 2011 to give recognition to LGBT-related themes and issues, and celebrate the diversity of the community, illustrated through the various genres of photography. The exhibition features works of 14 international photographers, selected from almost 400 entries.

This year's Award was given to Akın Çeliktaş for the Single Image Category, with a photograph taken on the day in which the Istanbul Gay Pride was supposed to take place but was banned because of “security concerns”. Many people showed up in the streets despite the ban and the huge display of police, and Çeliktaş's photograph illustrates this controversial situation. Margriet van der Linden, chair of the board of Pride Photo Award said: "In view of the developments in Turkey this winning image is extra significant. Both the young woman in the picture and the photographer have shown great courage by choosing to be visible in spite of the current repression. This is about freedom: the freedom to be yourself, freedom of demonstration, and freedom of press. That concerns everyone, all over the world.”

The Winner of the Insiders/Outsiders category has been awarded to Ukranian photographer Lana Yanovska for her series Polarity, featuring double-portraits of androgynous people showing the opposite natures that constitute their identities.

The series Melanie and her family, by French photographer Vincent Gouriou, is an account of a transgender girl and her beloved ones and has won the second prize for the same category.

The Stories first prize went to French photographer Benedicte Desrus for the series Samantha Flores, a woman of her own making, about the Mexican Transgender LGBT Rights Activist who is now 83-years-old.

The Open category award was given to US-photographer Rowan Renee for Z, a collection of glass plate portraits exploring gender fluidity, and in the same category, a striking series by Russian Photographer Elena Anosova titled Section, shows us portraits of female inmates living in Siberian prison colonies.

The exhibition, curated by Marga Rotteveel, gives truly a contemporary overview on the challenges that the LGBT community has to face worldwide, though not only the conflicts have been depicted, but also tenderness and love. The selected works show not only high technical quality but also a profound engagement with the issue that the photographers have been working with. As Margriet van der Linden said, this exhibition is about freedom, the venue that hosts it and the issues it explores, all concur to celebrate differences and tolerance, and furthermore, great photography.

The exhibition is open to the public from Monday to Saturday from 11 am to 5.30 pm and Sunday from 1 to 5 pm, in the Old Church, Oudekerksplein 23, Amsterdam.

For more information, check out the Pride Photo Award's website.