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Adriane Ohanesian ’08 Wins Courage in Photojournalism Award

Adriane Ohanesian ’08, a freelance photographer who graduated from Colorado College with a degree in anthropology, has won the Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award. The award is named for the Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press photographer who was killed on assignment in Afghanistan in 2014.

The judges said in a statement that Ohanesian won for her “evocative images and tenacious dedication to documenting the effects of conflict on citizens in perilous regions.”

Ohanesian, based in Nairobi, Kenya, has been reporting primarily in Africa since 2010 and began covering the news for Reuters in 2012. She has documented the civil war in South Sudan, the border demarcation between Sudan and South Sudan, the fighting in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan, and most recently the conflict in Darfur. Her work focuses on the impact that conflict has on isolated civilian populations, often exploring the desperation of people who have no other choice but to endure the reality of life within a war zone.

Santiago Lyon, Associated Press vice president and director of photography, was one of the five judges. “I think she embodies very much the spirit of the award,” he said.

Lyon singled out two of Ohanesian’s photos from Darfur — one showing hundreds of women and children sheltering in a cave and another showing a child badly burned by a bomb dropped by the Sudanese government. Lyon said Ohanesian shares “a similar focus and determination to tell difficult stories” with the late Niederinghaus. 

Ohanesian attended the Eddie Adams workshop in 2014, where she received an award from National Geographic. She also has been recognized as one of Magnum Photo’s top “30 under 30” and received LensCulture’s Emerging Talent award for her photographs of women soldiers in rebel-controlled Kachin, Myanmar. In 2015, she was selected as one of Getty Images Emerging Photographers, and earlier this year won a World Press Photo award for her work in Darfur. Her photographs have been published by Al Jazeera, The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, and Time magazine.

The $20,000 award, created by the International Women’s Media Foundation, recognizes the work of female photojournalists who cover global issues.