2 weeks ago my phone began buzzing early in the morning, with texts from friends and voicemails from BBC, CNN, and other European media outlets, requesting interviews on an award that I didn't even know I had won - yet.
I was quite aware that World Press Photo was realeasing their results that day, most photojournalists do. Lindsey and I even talked about it the night before, "wouldn't it be crazy if I actually won?"
For those of you that don't know, World Press Photo is considered the Oscar's of photojournalism. It's the ultimate peer and critically reviewed contest - for pro's only. For me to be included amongst these great and legendary photographers AND win the entire category (Contemporary Issues), is still beyond me.
2 weeks after the announcement, I'm still in a bit of shock. I've entered this contest every year since 2007. But not because I ever thought I would win. You see, entering contests during their annual season (end of year), provides a time to be highly intentional and retrospective of ones work; to review in a given year what worked and what didn't, tidy-up portfolios, look ahead in the coming year on how you can approve upon the last.
I'm grateful fo the exposure that this award will direct to my Pulitzer Center Dandora Project and of course for your critics to say nice things about my work, who doesn't want that? Notably and that part that made my day was one judge noting the hope in my image.
"The image that moved me especially was of a woman reading a book, sitting among garbage,"
says World Press Photo 2013 jury member Anne Wilkes Tucker, curator of photography at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
"It is a gorgeous image – so full of hope. News is not often filled with images of hope."
Feel free to read more on the British Journal of Photography.