Creepy photo of Canadian boarding school wins international press photo

THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS (AP) – A haunting image of a red dress hanging from a roadside cross, with a rainbow in the background, in memory of children who died at a boarding school built to house Aboriginal children in Canada won prestigious awards . Press Photo Prize Thursday.

The photo is part of the Kamloops Residential School series taken by Canadian photographer Amber Bracken for the New York Times.

“This is the kind of image that burns in your memory. It inspires a kind of sensory reaction,” said global jury president Rina Effendi. colonial history, not only in Canada, but around the world…”


The appreciation of Bracken’s work at this Amsterdam-based competition is not the first. He won first prize in the Contemporary Issues category of the competition in 2017 for photos of protesters on the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.

His latest victory came less than a week after Pope Francis offered a historic apology to indigenous peoples for the “unfortunate” abuses they suffered at a Catholic-run Canadian boarding school and begged for forgiveness.

Last May, Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Nation announced the discovery of 215 graves near Kamloops, British Columbia. It is Canada’s largest Aboriginal housing school and the discovery of the tomb is the first of many similar dark sites across the country.

“So we started, I think, to emulate some of the kids who go to this school who never come home,” Bracken said in comments posted by competition organizers. “There is also a small intersection on this road. And I knew right away that I wanted to photograph these cross lines with children’s clothes hanging from them to honor and honor these children and make them visible in a way that wasn’t so long ago.”

Indigenous peoples from other parts of the world are featured in the other competition’s top two annual awards. Winners were selected from 64,823 open format photos and entries from 4,066 photographers from 130 countries.

“Global winners come together to pay homage to the past, while living in the present and looking to the future,” said Effendi.

Australian photographer Matthew Abbott won the Photo Story of the Year award for a series of photos for National Geographic/Panos Pictures documenting how the Nawarddeken people of West Arnhem Land in northern Australia are fighting fires with fire by deliberately burning bush to remove fuel that can cause fires big forest.

The Long Term Project Award went to Lalo de Almeida, from Brazil, for a series of photos by Folha de São Paulo / Panos Pictures entitled “Amazonian Dystopia” that mapped the impact of Amazon exploitation, particularly on the indigenous peoples who were forced to deal with it. environmental degradation.

In the previously announced regional award, AP’s Bram Jansen won the Asia Stories category for a series of images from Kabul cinema and AP photographer Dar Yasin received an honorary mention for images from Kashmir called “Endless War”.

Yasin, along with Mukhtar Khan and Chani Anand, won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Photography for their coverage of the conflict in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Laura Davis

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