South African wins World Press Photo with Afghan portrait

11th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

A portrait of an Afghan woman disfigured as punishment for abandoning her marital home won the 2010 World Press Photo award for South African Jodi Bieber, organisers said Friday.

Two AFP photographers, Olivier Laban-Mattei and Christophe Archambault were also honouredd for their work.

First appearing on the front page of Time Magazine on August 1, 2010, Bieber's photograph shows Afghani Bibi Aisha staring into the lense, her nose and ears hacked off by members of the Taliban who accused her of abandoning her husband.

"This could become one of those pictures -- and we have maybe just 10 in our lifetime -- where if somebody says: 'you know, that picture of a girl', you know exactly which one they're talking about," jury chairman David Burnett was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the awards committee.

Aisha had fled back to her family home complaining of violent treatment at the hands of her husband.

The shot of the 18-year-old, her black shoulder-length hair partly covered by a purple headscarf, also won in the category "Portraits".

After she was disfigured, Aisha was rescued by aid workers and American soldiers and later underwent reconstructive surgery in the United States, where she now lives.

Frenchman Laban-Mattei won the category "General Information" with a photo series on the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

One of his pictures shows a man throwing the corpse of a dead child onto a pile of dead bodies at a hospital morgue.

His compatriot Christophe Archambault came third in the category "Nature" for a series on the erupting volcano Bromo, in Java.

Organisers said a record number of 108,059 images was submitted for this year's contest. A total of 5,847 photographers took part, representing 125 different nationalities.

© 2011 AFP

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