Associated Press photographer Dar Yasin has won the newly established Yannis Behrakis International Photojournalism Award for his coverage of the Kashmir conflict.
Athens Photo World organizers in Athens, announcing the winner Tuesday, described the 46-year-old staffer's work as a "testament to his courage and resilience."
Tensions in Kashmir, the disputed Himalayan region divided between Pakistan and India but claimed by both in its entirety, have escalated in recent weeks following a decision by New Delhi to downgrade the Indian-administered area’s semi-autonomy.
The annual competition was established in memory of Yannis Behrakis, the award-winning Greek photographer who died of cancer earlier this year, at 58.
Yasin, based in Srinagar, the main city Indian-held Kashmir, will receive a 15,000-euro prize and will exhibit his work in Athens next summer, organizers said.
"It doesn’t get more personal," Yasin said.
"I have won this award for my documentation of the situation in Kashmir. Not just these past few weeks or months, but years. Years of bearing witness to bloodshed, violence, strife, and unrest. Not in someplace far away. But in my own homeland. In my own city. In my own neighborhood."
AP chief photographer in Athens, Thanassis Stavrakis, who is an artistic director at Athens Photo World, which awards the annual prize, announced the news to Yasin but said an internet and cellphone blackout in Kashmir made it difficult.
"Dar found someone with a decent landline, but I couldn't get through. I called his brother in Mumbai, India, and his wife held two telephones together to connect us," Stavrakis said. "I could hardly hear anything, and I had to keep shouting that he'd won until he realized what had happened. When I saw the winning pictures, I was blown away. This is what pure photojournalism looks like."
The jury is chaired by Behrakis' widow, Elisavet Saridou Behrakis, and includes MaryAnne Golon, assistant managing editor and director of photography at The Washington Post, and Santiago Lyon, director of editorial content at Adobe. The group received the entries in a blind judging procedure.
The cash award was established through a grant from the Athens-based Stavros Niarchos Foundation.
About Dar Yasin
Dar Yasin, born in 1973, in Indian Kashmir. Studied bachelor’s in computer science and technology in South of India.
Dar has extensively covered Kashmir conflict, South Asia Earth Quake and its aftermath and the historical opening of bus route between divided Kashmir.
On assignment in Afghanistan has covered Afghan War, Afghan Refugees and Daily life of war-torn Afghanis. Dar has also covered Rohingya refugee crisis who fled large- scale violence and persecution in Myanmar. His works have appeared in almost all the major newspapers and news magazines around the globe.
Dar has won dozens of international and national photo awards including POYi, Atlanta Photojournalism, China Press Photo contest, the National Headliner Awards, finalist in WARS Photography Award, the Sigma Delta Chi Award by the Society of Professional Journalism. And Indian’s most prestigious Ramnath Goenka Award twice for the stories from Kashmir. Dar also was part of the Associated Press team that won the Hal Boyle Award for the Rohingya Exodus in the Overseas Press Club and a Robert F. Kennedy Award in the International Print category. In year 2017 he received NPPA (National Press Photographers Association) Humanitarian Award which is presented to an individual for playing a key role in the saving of lives or in rescue situations.
Most recently his work was exhibited in Visa Pour L’images in Perpignan.