jordi pizarro – disappearing lands: the “human face” of climate change in the sundarbans, india

Emerging Photographer Fund – 2014 Finalist


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EPF 2014 – finalist

Jordi Pizarro

Disappearing Lands: the “Human Face” of Climate Change in the Sundarbans, India.

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‘Disappearing Lands’ sets out to capture the ‘human face’ of climate change. The delicate balance that has for many centuries existed in the Sundarbans between land, air, and sea, is today under threat, and in certain areas, the effects have been disastrous.
‘Disappearing Lands’ is an attempt to explain how the Sundarbans is changing through the voices and images of the people who live there. It is also a call for urgent action to all, to address the very issue of survival of the landscape we call the Sundarbans, the animals and people who live within it, and the preservation of the worlds largest mangrove forest.
Within the space of the last 25 years, 6000 families have been rendered homeless with 4 Sundarban islands sinking into the sea.
As ominous predictions by climate change experts begin to unfold, the seas around the islands in the Bay of Bengal that support the world’s largest mangrove ecosystem are rising faster than anywhere else on Earth, placing the lives and livelihoods of those who live in the Sundarbans at risk.
Every year during the monsoon season, the waters of the rivers Ganges and Brahmaputra, which empty into the heavily populated and low lying delta region constituting the Bay of Bengal, inundate and erode the riverbanks and islands which millions of subsistent farmers call home.
Professors at Kolkata’s Jadavpur University estimate that as much as 15% of the UNESCO-protected Indian Sundarbans region will be submerged in the next six years. Sites of cultural heritage and farmlands relied on by peasant farmers, has been irrevocably lost in both India and Bangladesh.
Indeed, the riverbank erosion has caused more human and economic disasters in these areas than most wars. Sadly, only limited efforts have been made by the Bangladeshi and Indian governments for effective erosion control measures. There is limited political will to either help the displaced, or to prevent future climate-related disasters.



Barcelona, 1985.
I am a freelance documentary photographer currently based in India.  I’m covering breaking news and stories in  South East Asia, the emphasis of my work is largely focussed on current social and environmental concerns that affect different communities, most of them unadvertised by the big media. In addition to this, I have my long term project entitled “Believers” which looks at traditions, cultures and religions from a more anthropological perspective in many different regions globally.

My main goal is to aid and increase awareness of issues affecting people and their environments in the world we live in. I hope that with my photographs to contribute in some small way towards creating a critical reflexion of this world and also to try to understand us better as humans beings.

My work has been published in many international magazines around the world including Time, Sunday Times, Le Monde, Spiegel, Forbes, El Pais among others.


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Jordi Pizarro


meeri koutaniemi – taken

Emerging Photographer Fund – 2014 Finalist


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EPF 2014 – finalist

Meeri Koutaniemi


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Taken is a long term work aiming to a book, which has a diversity of stories from circumcised women who share their struggles in daily life resulting from an incident that caused irreversible mental and physical consequences for the rest of their lives.

Female genital cutting has been widely judged as a procedure against human rights and as a serious violation against women’s sexual independence. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women.

The World Health Organization estimates that there are more than 140 million mutilated women in the world. Female genital mutilation is a tradition practiced worldwide in 28 countries. As a project Taken aims to offer information about the dangers and horror of female genital mutilation and will be done together with female activists around the world for seeking a concrete change to stop the tradition of FGM.

The causes of female genital mutilation include a mix of cultural, religious and social factors within families and communities. The tradition stems from the belief that woman’s sexual organs are considered to be impure. FGM is often motivated by beliefs about what is considered proper sexual behavior, linking procedures to premarital virginity and marital fidelity.

The project includes stories of FGM survivors from 10 different countries. As a book Taken works as a platform to bring the tabu of mutilation and female sexuality into a more deep public discussion.




Meeri Koutaniemi, 26-old freelance photographer, was born in Lapland and lives currently around the world. Koutaniemi started as a photojournalist through her independent projects abroad. Koutaniemi does documentary photojournalism on issues concerning human rights and minorities, and combines her work with political activism.

Koutaniemi has worked as a photographer and a journalist in over 30 countries and filmed documentary movies in Bolivia and Mexico.

In 2014 Koutaniemi won the FreeLens Award in Lumix photo festival in Hannover with her exhibited documentary work Taken. Koutaniemi was selected as a participant to Joop Swart and VII Masterclass in 2014.

Koutaniemi is a founder member in an Italian Photo Agency Echo and belongs to Finnish Collective 11. In 2012 Koutaniemi received the Memorial Award of Tim Hetherington in United States and the Memorial Award of Carina Appel in Finland 2013. In 2012 and 2013 Koutaniemi was selected in Finland as the Photographer of the Year.


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Meeri Koutaniemi

justin maxon – heaven’s gain

Emerging Photographer Fund – 2014 Finalist


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EPF 2014 – finalist

Justin Maxon

Heaven’s Gain

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July 5th, 2013. ‘Hey Bro, well its 7 months today since you was taken away from us… I know you don’t want to see us down & heart broken. It is going to get harder b4 it get easy but we trying.’
Since the murder of her twin brother on December 5, 2012, Elena Jo McElwee, writes to him on the 5th day of every month. She fills the blank space on her bedroom walls with notes to her brother. She must maintain this connection with him. She must never forget.
In Chester, PA, families are seeking justice and yearning for ways to heal. With 300 unsolved murders in the last two decades, Chester is known as a place where you can get away with murder. The City is a microcosm of the structural and racial inequalities that pervade American society. Donald Newton, activist and lifetime resident, observed “Night now in Chester is night now in many places? night now in Philadelphia, in Camden and every other place you can think of…
Over the last 3 years, I’ve collected stories of families where justice was not served after the murder of a loved one. This project is a deep investigation into the emotional, physical and spiritual landscape that transpires from unresolved trauma. The photographic representation is a series of family portraits of people seeking justice, which are paired with an image from the murder scene captured around the time of day the crime was committed. Imperatively, to give the families’ a vehicle in their own depiction, I’ve collected ephemeral material (letters, love songs, drawings, diary entries and other objects), which is interwoven into the presentation.
My ultimate assumption of this work will be to forge pathways towards justice, healing and restitution by serving as an archeological index for investigating, [dis]assembling and [re]framing each murder as a living memory that simultaneously traverses and molds the landscape, psyche and soma of Chester.



Justin was born in a small town in the woods of northern California. His work reveals variables of truth in humanity’s conflicted existence.

He has received numerous awards for his photography, from competitions like World Press Photo, UNICEF Images of the Year, and American Photo. He won the Deeper Perspective Photographer of the Year at the 2008 Lucie Awards; the same year he was named one of PDN’s 30 Photographers to Watch. He was selected to participate in World Press Photo’s 2010 Joop Swart Masterclass. He received the 2011 Cliff Edom ‘New America Award’ from NPPA. He was also selected as one of Magenta’s 2012 Flash Forward Emerging Photographers. In addition, he has received grants from the Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund, FotoVisura, the Alexia Foundation for World Peace, and the Aaron Siskind Foundation. Most recently, he was selected by Blue Earth Alliance for their fiscal sponsorship.


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Justin Maxon






kiana hayeri – jense degar (the other sex)

Emerging Photographer Fund

Honorable Mention – under 30 EPF 2014 Talent


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Honorable Mention – under 30 EPF talent

Kiana Hayeri

“Jense Degar” (The Other Sex)

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Under Islamic laws, homosexuality is not recognized and is considered to be a sin. Contrary to what is often reported in the media about the Iranian government stand, the LGBT community in Iran live without harassment, threat or persecution. It is mainly the cultural taboos that forces them to remain closed and mainly underground.

Amir is 19 year old. He is a bold Iranian homosexual. He has been accepted and supported by his family and has survived in a society where his existence as a homosexual is denied. In April 2013, Amir, just a term away from finishing his degree in fashion design, leaves to seek asylum and becomes a refugee. In Turkey, he joins his ex-partner, where the couple share a two bedroom apartment with other members of their community in Denizli. Seeking a better future, over the next year, Amir’s close friends join him in Turkey. Few last through the hardship of the process and a few choose to return to Iran and live in comfort with their families and close friends.

Jense Degar is an ongoing documentation of those who identify with and explore ‘the other sex’ in Iran, a country where on principles and culture, their sexuality is not accepted by the majority, making it difficult to obtain a job or maintain a normal life. Jense Degar looks at the transformation, sexual exploration and the journey of these young men in both Iran and as refugees in the neighbouring country, Turkey.



Kiana was born in Iran in 1988. Moving to Canada while she was still a teenager, photography soon became her preferred way to bridge the communication gap faced in a new country with a new language and culture. Half way through her last year of university, Kiana put her life in a backpack and in search of her ‘home,’ started a nomad life. With a keen interest in documentary projects, she aims to use her camera to tell stories, with a social message. She is presently pursuing projects that illuminate her cultural background. Focusing on young women, Kiana continues to document challenges Iranian people face, both in Iran and abroad.


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Kiana Hayeri






birte kaufmann – the travellers – ireland`s biggest minority group

Emerging Photographer Fund – 2014 Runner Up


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EPF 2014 runner up

Birte Kaufmann

The Travellers – Ireland`s Biggest Minority Group

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My ongoing photography project “The Travellers”, gives insight into the everyday life of Ireland’s largest minority group. This group has a nomadic origin, stemming from the tradition of migrant workers. As this tradition no longer exists, the travellers are looking for a new identity within the Western European society of the 21st century. Both the travellers’ traditions and their way of life are so different that they are met with little acceptance by the rest of the Irish society. The travellers live in a kind of parallel world with rules all of its own and traditional gender roles, a world to which outsiders have little access.
To this day, some traveller families live by the roadside illegally – mostly without electricity, running water or sanitation, even though the government has provided halting sites for the travellers where they can stay with their caravans.
In the summer of 2011, I travelled the first time to Ireland with a VW bus in order to photograph the travellers. I wanted to capture the travellers’ way of life and their values in pictures. In doing so, I did not want to romanticize them, but rather show their everyday life. A life where people still hunt rabbits and where horses play a vital role. But it is also a life that contains hardship and boredom from an early age.
Since my first encounter with the travellers, I have been in touch with one large family. Over time, I have gained their trust. Consequently, I was allowed to live with them so that I and my camera became part of their daily lives.



Birte Kaufmann is born 1981 in Germany. She lives and works as a freelance photographer in Berlin/ Germany.
She focuses on photojournalism and documentary photography related to social and society relevant issues.
From 2009 to 2012 she studied photography at Ostkreuzschule fur Fotografie und Gestaltung in Berlin/ Germany. Graduation October 2012.
From 2003 to 2006 she studied socialwork with the focus on media pedagogics at Fachhochschule Cologne/ Germany. Gratuation August 2006.
So far her work were shown in several solo and group shows and festivals in Germany and around the world.
She won several awards like the CNN Journalist Award 2014 in the category Photo or the PDN annual 2013 and recieved in 2012  the VG Bildkunst artist`s grant and in 2013 the Wuestenrot documentary photography sponsorship award.


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Birte Kaufmann





EPF 2014 – the winners







Alessandro Penso, winner – $10,000

Birte Kaufmann, runner-up – $3,000

Kiana Hayeri, honorable mention





(in alphabetical order – out of a total of 1135 entries)
Laia Abril
Dominic Bracco II
Max Cabello Orcasitas
Marco Casino
Alejandro Cegarra
Stephen Dock
Ditte Haarlov Johnsen
Meeri Koutaniemi
Justin Maxon
Annalisa Natali Murri
Jordi Pizarro
Valerio Polici



The full essays of the winners and finalists will be published here on BURN over the next few days and weeks,
as well as the list of the shortlisted selection. Stay tuned!





(in alphabetical order)

Mauro Bedoni | Photo Editor, COLORS Magazine

Jim Estrin | Editor, New York Times LENS blog

Donna Ferrato | Photographer

Erik Vroons | Editor-in-Chief, GUP Magazine



Judge’s statement:


The amount of excellent work that we viewed made this an extremely difficult judging process.
Many entrants were worthy of recognition, but our job was to pick only a few.

Alessandro Penso brought new insight, and a sense of intimacy, to an important topic.
His story goes beyond what others have done on migration. The well composed images
reflect his commitment and the time that he has put into the story.

Birte Kaufmann gives us a look into the daily life of The Travelers,
an indigenous Irish nomadic group. The images are lyrical, yet also direct.
Her vision is pure and tender.  We hope this beautiful body of work will be developed further.

Kiana Hayeri was born in Iran but went to high school and college in Canada.
Her work has focused on  Iranians both in her home country and her adopted one.
She goes well past the stereotypical representations of Iran and brings us both an insider and outsider perspective.



Previous EPF Winners


The 2008 Emerging Photographer Fund grant was awarded to
Sean Gallagher for his essay on the environmental Desertification of China.

The 2009 Emerging Photographer Fund grant was awarded to
Alejandro Chaskielberg for his 8×10 format essay on the Parana River Delta ‘The High Tide’.

The 2010 Emerging Photographer Fund grant was awarded to
Davide Monteleone for his essay ‘Northern Caucasus’.

The 2011 Emerging Photographer Fund grant was awarded to
Irina Werning for her essay ‘Back to the Future’.

In 2012 three Emerging Photographer Fund grants were awarded:
one major to Matt Lutton for his essay ‘Only Unity’ and
two minors to Giovanni Cocco for his essay ‘Monia’ and to Simona Ghizzoni for her essay ‘Afterdark’.

In 2013 four Emerging Photographer Fund grants were awarded:
one major to Diana Markosian for her essay ‘My Father The Stranger’ and
three minors to: Iveta Vaivode for her essay ‘Somewhere on Disappearing Path’,
Oksana Yushko for her essay ‘Balklava: The Lost History’ and
Maciej Pisuk for his essay ‘Under The Skin; Photographs From Brzeska Street’.



Editor’s note:


I cannot express my thanks enough to Donna, Jim, Erik and Mauro.
This very fine EPF jury worked collectively so hard and so thoroughly to finely tune their choices…
They thought this through very carefully from every angle to award this grant to the photographers most deserving.
Of course once it gets down to the finalists, the choices become extremely difficult. This is where they really went to work.
Lots of back and forth discussion and yet consensus reached.


Burn Magazine revolves around the EPF. Our most important curatorial contribution
to the oftentimes chaotic landscape of photography today. By choosing a jury whose lifetimes have been spent in looking
at photographs and making photographs, we try to give our Burn readers a distilled version of the best work of all that
flows before their eyes everyday.


Most importantly our mission is to give recognition to the finest emerging authors out there and to provide some funding to at least
a few to keep going and to continue making a mark. Our previous winners prove this is not in vain.


Many thanks especially to my EPF Burn team of Anton Kusters, Diego Orlando, and Kaya Berne.
First off , they must deal with me!! Never easy. In all seriousness, they all show amazing dedication to the spirit of
doing something which just feels good. To provide a platform for the up and coming.


Special thanks to Susan Meiselas of the Magnum Foundation. Nobody on the planet is more dedicated to allowing new talent to develop.



The Emerging Photographer Fund was created and is directed by David Alan Harvey,
and curated by Anton Kusters & Diego Orlando, with Kaya Lee Berne.