Uganda press photo awards make a mark on photojournalism

Twenty two photographers have been recognised for the excellence of their work at the third edition of the Uganda Press Photo Awards.

The awards are organised by the Foreign Correspondents Association of Uganda (FCAU).

Co-chair of the correspondents’ association, Malcolm Webb, says more than 700 entries were received this year.

“The Awards have gone from strength to strength each year. This year, over 700 images were submitted, which is more than double what we received last year.”

He says  the standard of entries was also high and is improving year on year.

The awards that started in 2012 are intended to recognising photojournalists in Uganda.

The overall winner of the contest was New Vision photographer Abu Mwesigwa whose photograph shows a bride, groom and entourage crammed into a car after the UPDF mass wedding in September 2013. Mr Abu received a Nikon camera as a prize.

Freelance photojournalist, Frédéric Noy, who served on the judging panel says he was struck by “the atmosphere and the impression given by the photo”.

He adds that “The photographer managed to be close to the subjects and in the same time to be forgotten by them. It shows that he had a good attitude”.

Edward Echwalu, a Ugandan photojournalist and member of FCAU says the award provides a unique platform that recognises the creative work of photojournalists in Uganda, “something that was previously lacking”.

For the first time since the awards were inaugurated, a female photographer was recognised for her work in the creative category.

Darlyne Komukama who runs a photography blog says she was stunned that she had been recognised.

“I was more surprised than anything that I had gotten an Honourable Mention and even more that I was the only female. I do hope more women feel they can enter the competition now,” she says.

Her photo, she says, captures “this singular moment in time that won’t ever be repeated“.

“I’m inspired by light and shadow and colour in all the moments that are just photos waiting to be taken,” she adds.

Noy admits that the competition needs more women.

“We could create a category for women photojournalism. It does exist in Perpignan-Visa, which is the most famous and internationally recognized Photojournalism festival, to encourage them to make entries,” he notes

He encourages photographers whose entries did not make it to the finals to keep practicing, enhance their quality and try again.

“There is a need of education, exchange and training specifically on self-criticism, editing, post-production, and story presentation,” Frederic adds.

All the winning photos are on exhibition at the Makerere University Art Gallery until November 8.

The full list of winners can be found here.

The Uganda Press Photo Award (UPPA) is organised in partnership with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and the US Mission in Uganda, and with support from Definition Africa.

Grace Natabaalo

Grace Natabaalo is a programme assistant at the African Centre for Media Excellence.

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