There is a shortlist of five for the War on Want international photographic award for student photographers and the winner will be announced on the 21st January 2010 at the Host Gallery in London.
Expert judges are torn over deciding the winner of a unique international photographic award launched for student photographers to capture images connected with poverty and human rights.
The Document competition gave students the chance to interpret, take on and challenge these issues, and demonstrate the ways in which they relate to life in Britain.
The contest, organised by the British charity War on Want, appealed for entries to challenge perceptions of the human impact of the global financial crisis.
It is is the first to display the finalists' work for a week at a leading photographic gallery.
The experts have whittled down high standard entries from scores of photographers to a shortlist of five.
The winner will be announced on the 21st January at the Host gallery in London and the pictures will be displayed until 28th January.
Two finalists are both students at the University of Wales in Newport.
One of them, Gareth Kingdon, took his inspiration from Kibera in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, which he says traditional media brand Africa's biggest, poorest and dirtiest slum, hell on earth.
Gareth said: "If you can see beyond the problem, there is great determination, hope and an abundance of skills displayed by the residents, empowered to build better lives for themselves, their families and communities. There are a huge variety of small businesses in every main street, such as dressmaking shops, hair salons, pool halls and even photography studios. My photographs celebrate the successes of Kibera as well as everyday events that we can relate to. These include a fish and chip shop and a record shop selling’s DVDs such as Desperate Housewives.
The other UoW finalist, Paul Corcoran, attempted to communicate the varied feelings, attitudes and emotional states of unemployed young Welsh people.
Paul said: “The economic downturn that has swept across most of the first world and large parts of the developing world is souring the hopes of millions of people in their teens and twenties. The figures show that 45% of all unemployed people in Wales are under the age of 25. The issues faced here are not an isolated case. This is very much a global phenomenon.
Another finalist, Victor Yuliev, portrays his native city St Petersburg’s homeless population at a temporary shelter.
Victor said: “To sleep directly in the city streets is extremely dangerous - unpredictable Petersburg weather can fatally affect the health of the hobo. Besides, the majority of these people tell me that they are frequently beaten by young men or police officers. Often they can sleep only three or four hours. Permanent shortage of sleep can cause psychic disorders.
A further shortlisted entrant, Lancastrian-based Marianne Van Loo, highlights Burnley, once capital of the world’s cotton, now among the UK’s most deprived areas, where six in ten children live in poverty.
Marianne said: “Let's think about the places the cotton industry moved to, like India and Uzbekistan, where many farmers receive a low wage for their produce, child labour is in place and the use of pesticides damages workers' health.
The other shortlisted contender, London-based Francesco Stelitano, depicted the Indian financial capital Mumbai to investigate the meaning of national wealth.
Francesco said: “The project explored how economic progress sees benefitting citizens only in giving them the possibility of buying consumer goods.
The exhibition in the Host gallery – at 1 Honduras Street, London EC1Y 0TH - will be open from 10.00am until 6.00 pm on weekdays and from 11.00 am to 4.00 pm on Saturday.
The judges are Conrad Tracy, course leader for the commercial photography degree at Bournemouth’s Arts University College - who chairs the panel - Observer picture editor Greg Whitmore, photographer Stephen Ledger Lomas, art buyer at Mother London, and Lauren Heinz, editor of Foto 8 magazine, along with representatives from War on Want and graphic communications agency Bond and Coyne, which devised the concept for the award and supported its development and launch.
For more information please visit the War on Want