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See the brilliant winning images of the 2016 Sony World Photo Awards

Asghar Khamseh has been named L’Iris d’Or Photographer of the Year of the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards. The Iranian photojournalist won for a series of portraits (“Fire of Hatred”) highlighting the violent act of acid throwing against women and children in Iran. Khamseh takes home the $25,000 prize.

Khamseh was one of sixty photographers from around the world who were named National Awards winners of the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards, in partnership with the World Photography Organisation, on March 21. The judges, who announced the overall winners on April 21, said of Khamseh’s work: “Portraits of disfigurement resulting from social violence are undoubtedly a hard-hitting subject, and one which the longstanding tradition of documentary photography does not shy away from. The power of Asghar Khamseh’s imposing series ‘Fire of Hatred’ is such that he enables the viewer to face head-on intimate images, which could be testing to examine closely, with empathy and respect which in turn allows the viewer to become a witness and not just a spectator. The Jury were united in their admiration of this work and the light it shed on the tragic practice it exposes.”

The violent act of acid throwing is primarily against women and children.  These attacks are committed with the intent to disfigure, maim and destroy the social life and future of the victim.  The motivation to commit this type of violence is cultural destitution, intolerance and happens in situations such as family conflicts, rejected marriage proposal, revenge and divorce requests. In addition physical and psychological damages, victims are faced with the experience of social stigma ,blame and social unpleasant tags.
Asghar Khamseh, a photojournalist in Iran, won the grand prize of the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards for his “Fire of Hatred” portraits that document the violent act of acid throwing. Asghar Khamseh, Iran, Photographer of the Year, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

In the Open Photographer of the Year category, Kei Nomiyama of Japan won for “Enchanted Bamboo Forest,” while Sam Delaware of California won the Youth Photographer of the Year award. Khamseh, Nomiyama, Delaware, and all the other winners will be featured in an exhibition at the Somerset House, in London, and a companion photo book.

The National winners represent countries or regions from every continent — well, with the exception of Antarctica. Narrowing the entrants down to the 60 winners was a feat in itself: 230,103 total images were entered, comprising of 127,098 in the Professional category, 95,541 in the Open category, and 7,464 in the Youth category (Open and Youth winners will be announced on March 29). The number of entries for 2016 increased significantly from last year’s awards, which had 173,444 total entries.

In the United States, the National Award went to Mark Fulinara of San Diego, California, for his photo, “Falling Kickboxer.” Fulinara, an audio-video engineer who is a part-time photographer, received a Sony A7R II camera as a prize, and his photo will be shown during the Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition at Somerset House, in London, from April 22 to May 8. It will be included in an annual book of winning photos, and, as mentioned, compete for the grand title.

“As a person who believes that the secret of life is to be nice to people and to grow your body of work, it’s really nice to be recognized for creating something worthy of such prestigious awards,” Fulinara said. “With art being what it is, I’m not sure that I could say that one photo is better than another, but I’m absolutely certain that winning this award is something I will be proud of for the rest of my life.”

Vincent Frascello won second-place for “Frozen Nights,” while Brandon Yoshizawa’s “Panic at the Disco” received third place.

Click here to view all the winning images and their full descriptions.

This article was originally published on March 21. It has been updated to reflect the overall winners.

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