(Amsterdam) – The French photographer Olivier Jobard has been awarded the third annual Tim Hetherington Grant, set up to celebrate the legacy of the photojournalist and filmmaker killed in Libya in 2011, Human Rights Watch and World Press Photo announced today. The annual grant of €20,000, intended to support a photographer in completing an existing project on a human rights theme, was given for Jobard’s project entitled “Dream of a Rain of Perfume.” It was chosen by a selection committee from among 145 applications.
“Dream of a Rain of Perfume” shows the human face of migration, one of the most urgent global issues of our time. Jobard follows two young Afghan men whose lives are threatened by the Taliban. In photography and video, he chronicles their flight to Europe, from dangerous border crossings to intimate, humorous moments. The project’s title comes from the men’s dream of reaching Paris, a city that, they have heard, is sprayed with perfume by helicopters every morning.
The 2013 selection committee of the Tim Hetherington Grant consisted of photographers, editors, and representatives from World Press Photo and Human Rights Watch: Marcus Bleasdale, documentary photographer with VII Photo Agency, Carroll Bogert, deputy executive director for external relations at Human Rights Watch, Pamela Chen, senior photo editor for the National Geographic magazine, Ross Kauffman, documentary film director for Red Light Films, and Michiel Munneke, managing director of World Press Photo. Adriaan Monshouwer, founder of Picture Inside, served as the secretary during the selection.
In their unanimous decision, the committee cited Jobard’s dedication to his subject and praised his visual and narrative skills: “He has a consistently excellent approach to both video and photography and uses both media to tell a meaningful, important story. As you watch these men make the transition from their past as Taliban fighters to the Western world, you are drawn into their lives. You want to know what happens to them.” The jury continues: “Jobard uses the surprises in everyday, anecdotal storytelling to reveal the human side of a global, hard-to-understand issue. He makes us care about these people. Empathy and humor are important elements in his work. Even under the worst of circumstances he allows us to breathe a little bit, and smile.”
Reviewing the applications, the selection committee looked for the qualities that defined Hetherington’s career: work that operates on multiple platforms and in a variety of formats; that crosses boundaries between breaking news and longer-term investigation; and that demonstrates a consistent moral commitment to the lives and stories of the photographic subjects.
“Olivier Jobard has really committed himself personally to this story,” said Carroll Bogert of Human Rights Watch. “In that, he reminded us all of Tim, who had extraordinary empathy for the people he photographed. It’s obvious from the materials we reviewed that Olivier is an enormously talented photographer, videographer, and storyteller. We hope his final project will find the wide audience it deserves.”
“Olivier Jobard has been following the issue of migration for over a decade. His long-term involvement mirrors Tim Hetherington’s own dedication to telling a story. Like Tim, he has the visual skills to narrate the story in a very compelling way, so that he draws the viewer in. You feel an emotional response to the key players, which creates a bridge between viewer and subject: you relate to them,” said Michiel Munneke of World Press Photo. “With support from the Tim Hetherington Grant, I look forward to seeing this fascinating project find the wide audience it deserves.”
In 2012, the Spanish photographer Fernando Moleres received the second Tim Hetherington Grant for his project “Waiting for an Opportunity” that explores the harsh conditions children face while incarcerated in the adult prison of Pademba, Sierra Leone, and follows them in their struggle to adjust to life outside after release from prison. In 2011, the American photographer Stephen Ferry received the first Tim Hetherington Grant for his project “Violentology: A Manual of the Colombian Conflict”.
The Tim Hetherington Grant is a joint initiative of Human Rights Watch and World Press Photo, and was created in honor of the photojournalist and filmmaker Tim Hetherington killed in Misrata, Libya, in April 2011. The application process was open to all professional photographers who have participated in a World Press Photo competition between 2008 and 2013.