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Adriane Ohanesian wins prize named for AP photographer

Kenya-based freelance photojournalist Adriane Ohanesian, who has documented conflicts in Sudan and South Sudan, has won an award for courage named for an Associated Press photographer killed on assignment in Afghanistan in 2014.

The announcement that Ohanesian won the Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award was made Tuesday.

Ohanesian has been reporting primarily in Africa since 2010, according to the International Women's Media Foundation, which established the $20,000 prize. The award is funded by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.

Ohanesian is a New York native and graduate of Colorado College according to her website. Based in Nairobi, she has documented the civil war in South Sudan and the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region. The award jury 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."

"My photographs document what I've seen in isolated areas of the world. I hope the people I photograph feel that these photos communicate their circumstances to the outside world. It takes a massive amount of trust on the part of my subjects to know that I'm accurately representing them and their story," Ohanesian said in a statement released by the International Women's Media Foundation.

An email to her Tuesday generated this reply: "Thank you for your email. I am currently on assignment with very limited access to the internet and no access to phone networks. Thank you for your patience."

Santiago Lyon, the AP's vice president and director of photography, was one of five members of the award jury. He singled out for particular praise two of Ohanesian's images 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 Niedringhaus, who joined the AP in 2002 and worked throughout the Middle East, as well as in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"I think she embodies very much the spirit of the award," Lyon said of Ohanesian.

Niedringhaus was part of an AP team that won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography for coverage of Iraq. A native of Germany, she was killed on assignment when an Afghan police commander walked up to the car she was in and opened fire. Her friend and colleague, AP reporter Kathy Gannon, was seriously injured in the attack.

Two other women, Lynsey Addario and Paula Bronstein, received honorable mentions in this year's competition. Addario, who is based in London, was recognized for her work documenting humanitarian crises. Bronstein, based in Bangkok, was honored for her coverage of refugees, natural disasters and political protests.

The award was first given out in 2015 and will be awarded annually to a female photojournalist whose life and work honor Niedringhaus' legacy.


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