Sight Magazine – Haunting Canada boarding school photo wins World Press Photo

ByDavid M. Conte

Apr 8, 2022

The Hague, Netherlands

A haunting image of red robes hanging from crosses along a road, with a rainbow in the background, commemorating children who died at a boarding school set up to assimilate Indigenous children in Canada, won the prestigious Thursday World Press Photo award.

The image was part of a series of the Kamloops boarding school taken by Canadian photographer Amber Bracken for The New York Times.

This image provided by World Press Photo which won World Press Photo Of The Year by Amber Bracken for The New York Times, titled Kamloops Residential School, shows red dresses hanging from crosses along a road commemorating deceased children at the Kamloops Indian Residential School, an institution set up to assimilate Indigenous children, following the detection of as many as 215 unmarked graves, Kamloops, British Columbia, June 19, 2021. PHOTO: Amber Bracken for The New York Times/World Press Photo via AP.

“It’s kind of an image that sticks in your memory. It inspires a kind of sensory response,” Global Jury President Rena Effendi said in a statement. , not only in Canada but around the world. .”

It wasn’t the first recognition of Bracken’s work in the Amsterdam-based competition. She won first prize in the Contemporary Issues category of the competition in 2017 for images of protesters at the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.

His latest victory came less than a week after Pope Francis issued a historic apology to Indigenous peoples for the “deplorable” abuses they suffered in Canada’s Catholic residential schools and asked for forgiveness.

Last May, the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Nation announced the discovery of 215 burial sites near Kamloops, British Columbia. It was the largest residential school in Canada and the discovery of the graves was the first of many similar grim sites across the country.

“So we started having, I guess, a personification of some of the kids who went to those schools and didn’t come home,” Bracken said in comments posted by contest organizers. “There are also these little crosses near the highway. And I knew right away that I wanted to photograph the line of these these crosses with these little children’s clothes hanging over them to commemorate and honor these children and make them visible in a way that they hadn’t been since long time. ”

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Indigenous peoples from around the world featured in two other of the annual competition’s top prizes. Winners were chosen from 64,823 photographs and open format entries by 4,066 photographers from 130 countries.

“Together, the global winners pay homage to the past, while inhabiting the present and looking to the future,” said Effendi.

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This image provided by World Press Photo which won the World Press Photo Story Of The Year award given by Matthew Abbott for National Geographic Magazine/Panos Pictures, titled Saving Forests With Fire, shows Nawarddeken elder Conrad Maralngurra burning from l ‘grass to protect the Mamadawerre community from late-season ‘wildfires’, in Mamadawerre, Arnhem Land, Australia, May 3, 2021. The late evening fire will naturally die out once the temperature drops and the humidity levels increase. PHOTO: Matthew Abbott for National Geographic/Panos Pictures/World Press Photo via AP.

Australian photographer Matthew Abbott won the Photo Story of the Year award for a series of images for National Geographic/Panos Pictures that document how the Nawarddeken people of West Arnhem Land in northern Australia fight fire with the fire by deliberately burning underbrush to remove fuel that could start much larger wildfires.

The Long-Term Project Award went to Lalo de Almeida from Brazil for a photo series for Folha de São Paulo/Panos Pictures titled “Amazonian Dystopia” which traces the effects of exploitation of the Amazon region, particularly on indigenous communities forced to cope with environmental degradation.

In the previously announced regional awards, The Associated Press’ Bram Janssen won the Asia Stories category with a series of photos from a Kabul movie theater and AP photographer Dar Yasin earned an honorable mention for photos from Kashmir titled ” Endless War”.

Yasin, along with Mukhtar Khan and Channi Anand, won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Film Photography for their coverage of the war in Kashmir.