Winners from the 2008 CGAP Microfinance Photography Contest

Click to see a slideshow of the 25 winning photographs and for details of the winners.

Shot in Birbhum, West Bengal, India this girl has shown a rare spirit. Losing her father a few years back she now helps her mother till a small piece of land and together they produce a little amount of paddy during monsoon and the rest of the year they yield vegetables. The girl irrigates her field carrying water from a well which they have dug. She also takes care of her brother whom she likes to send to school. The photograph shows that the girl is preparing radish to take it to market. (Credits: Somenath Mukhopadhyay)

Winners from the 2008 CGAP Microfinance Photography Contest

Mukhopadhyay, a teacher in a government-run school in West Bengal, India, is the winner of the 2008 CGAP Microfinance Photography Contest. The judges unanimously chose this image of a young girl preparing radishes to take to market in Tarapur village, Birbhum, for the top prize. Amateur photographer Mukhopadhyay won out over more than 700 entries from professional and nonprofessional photographers in 40 countries all over the world.

“I love to take my bike into the interior and ride the muddy lanes to photograph human issues,” said Mukhopadhyay, who teaches English language in a small town in West Bengal. “I try to capture the issues that touch people. This tribal girl is working hard so she can survive, and to send her brother to primary school.” The judges commended the image for its vibrant color and composition.

Click here to see original size Second prize goes to a photo of traditional spinning taken by Kushal Gangopadhyay. And third prize goes to accountant Ellen de Leon of the Philippines for a dramatic photo of a Muslim woman drying corn. The blocks of color in this image reminded judge Bob Annibale, global director of Citi Microfinance, of an abstract painting by American artist Mark Rothko. Click here to see original size

In addition to the 20 other finalists, the judges awarded two special prizes for images that stood out for their representation of microfinance. Sandipan Majumdar captured this image of a camel owner making use of mobile technology at the Great Pushkar Fair, known as the Cattle Fair, which takes place every winter in Rajasthan. And the “towering sky, angular composition, and tonal quality” of this Click here to see original sizedramatic black-and-white photograph of fishermen hauling nets on Digha Beach taken in early monsoon season by Saikat Mukherjee, also warranted special mention, said judge Gary Cameron of Reuters.

The judges liked the image of solidarity captured by 2006 winner Srinivasa Rao Allamsetty in a photograph taken in early morning light during a group meeting in Orissa.

Click here to see the original sizeThey commented on the feeling of gritty reality in Subhrajit Basu’s black-and-white image of a woman returning home after a day of selling milk in the Calcutta market. Photojournalist Jez Coulson called it “a proper piece of reportage.” Gary Cameron agreed, saying that the image is very successful at drawing you into the woman’s story, even though her face doesn’t appear.

And the judges were delighted by Samuel de Leon’s image from a strawberry farm in La Trinidad, Philippines, and the story it tells of a farmer tending her strawberries with loving care.

Click here to see original sizeNational Geographic Senior Picture Editor Gail Fischer says Bobby Eleazar’s Night Fish Vendor was unusually successful for an image taken using available light. What made it stand out is the expression on the fish vendor’s face: “He’s really working, there’s nothing engineered about this image,” she said.

Click to see original size The judges liked the abstract quality of Mohammad Rakibul Hasan’s image of stones being transported in Bangladesh—an industry that offers employment for many microfinance clients collecting and transporting stone from the mountains by river—and the way the eye can wander around the image.

Click here to see original sizeAnd of the many images of fishing entered in the Contest, they picked one by Anindya Majumdar of the moment at which fishermen fling their nets together in the Shilabati River. As two groups of fishermen spread out on each side of the river, they trap the fish in between, sweeping them up in their nets.

Click here to see original size National Geographic’s Gail Fischer commended the graphic qualities in this black-and-white image of basket weaving by Saikat Mukherjee. Women Advancing Microfinance founder Deb Burand added: “There are so many images of basket weaving in microfinance that it’s easy for them to become stereotyped, but this image stood out for the judges. It’s very strong, quite unique.”

Our thanks to all the professional and nonprofessional photographers around the world who entered this year’s Contest. The 2009 CGAP Microfinance Photography Contest will open for entries in May 2009.


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