Competition Finalist

I haven’t entered a photography competition for a while so I was pleased to see that an image that particularly resonates with me from an assignment in Jordan earlier this year to report on the Syrian refugee crises made the finals of two competitions.

The first was the Fremantle International Portrait Prize and second competition was the Perth Centre of Photography Iris Awards 2013.

I’ve blogged about this picture in my assignment review and it remains one of my strongest images from Jordan so I’m happy that members of the public and judges have reacted to it in a positive way and has given the refugee situation in Syria even more coverage. I only spent about 45 minutes with Ala and Zeena but their quiet dignity, devotion to their family and resilience to the horrendous situation they found themselves in was humbling. For me they break every stereotype of a refugee that some would have you believe.

The caption for the competition read:-

‘We fled Syria across the border into Jordan and could only carry this suitcase with a few clothes and food for the baby. It was cold and dangerous, I cannot explain how awful it’s been for the children,’ explains Zeena (26) from a room in Amman where her family now struggles to survive. They fled Homs after their house and bakery were destroyed during fighting.”


Ala’a (29), Zeena (26), Ammer (4) & Mohammed (1) fled Homs a month ago and are now living in this single room in Amman. Like all other refugees they only managed to bring what they could carry over the border, so they arrived with just some baby food, nappies and their clothes in this suitcase and are now struggling to survive. They had a family bakery business making bread and sweets back in Homs but they were forced to flee after the bakery and their house were destroyed. They also didn't feel safe due to an increase in kidnappings.