Photojournalist Awarded Grant for Condemned
01 November 2013 – New Zealand photojournalist Robin Hammond, 38, is the recipient of this year’s W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography, a US$30,000 prize in support of his long-term project on mental illness in Africa.
The article about his book of his photographs, Condemned, published by FotoEvidence for its annual FotoEvidence Book Award depicting this subject, was published in the Huffington Post this week.
During a trip to Juba, South Sudan to cover the referendum for independence, Hammond came across a story he had never seen adequately depicted, when he saw, as he tells FotoEvidence, a mentally ill girl begging at the side of the road. He asked the driver of the car what the treatment for the mentally disabled is in Juba, and he received the following answer: they were put in prison.
This began the journey for Hammond that would culminate in a book of photographs titled Condemned, published by FotoEvidence as the winner of the organisation’s 2013’s Book Award.
In discussing what he saw in Juba, in which mentally ill were incarcerated, Hammond said, “Many didn’t see their treatment of people with mental disability as abusive. It is, in a way, even more disturbing that they considered their treatment as normal and in no way cruel.”
Hammond has contributed to international newspapers and magazines including National Geographic, Time Magazine, The Sunday Times Magazine, The New York Times, and Polka Magazine. He has exhibited at Visa Pour L’Image, and has been a four-time winner of the Amnesty International award for Human Rights journalism, among other international recognition and awards for his work.
Originally from Wellington, Hammond currently lives in Paris.