The photojournalist Fernando Moreles has been awarded the second Tim Hetherington Grant, an annual visual journalism award focusing on human rights, Human Rights Watch and World Press Photo announced today.
Human Rights Watch and World Press Photo established the grant to honor the legacy of Hetherington, a photojournalist and filmmaker who was killed during fighting in Libya in April 2011. The €20,000 grant was given to Moleres for his project "Waiting for an Opportunity," in which he is documenting the harsh realities of juvenile justice in Sierra Leone.
Moleres' photography and video project explores the brutal conditions that children and young people endure while incarcerated in the adult prison in Pademba, Sierra Leone, and follows them in their struggle to adjust to life after their release. Many are imprisoned as children and housed with adults in inhumane conditions. They often wait years for trial without access to any legal assistance.
"Fernando Moleres' moral and emotional commitment to his photographic subjects is clear," said Carroll Bogert, deputy executive director for external relations at Human Rights Watch. "Tim Hetherington would have loved this work and Human Rights Watch is thrilled to support it."
In the course of his documentary work, Moleres was inspired to create a nongovernmental organization, Free Minor Africa, which supports the reintegration of formerly incarcerated young people into society in Sierra Leone.
For more than two decades Moleres, who was born and lives in Spain, has been committed to documenting the plight of the most vulnerable populations and covering issues relating to children and labor, juvenile justice, and refugees.
The jury members were Bogert; Marcus Bleasdale, photographer for VII Photo; James Brabazon, journalist and documentary filmmaker; Whitney Johnson, The New Yorker's director of photography; and Michiel Munneke, managing director at World Press Photo. Adriaan Monshouwer, founder of Picture Inside, served as secretary during the selection process.
The selection committee was looking for 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 long-term investigation; and that demonstrates a consistent moral commitment to the lives and stories of the photographic subjects.
The Tim Hetherington Grant is a joint initiative of Human Rights Watch and World Press Photo. The grant is intended to provide resources to a photographer to complete an existing project on a human rights theme. The application process was open to all professional photographers who have participated in a World Press Photo competition between 2008 and 2012.