“The stories that grabbed my attention were those created through unique personal approaches with a clear vision and a rich visual vocabulary,” says Noriko Hayashi, a Panos Pictures photographer who was a Joop Swart participant in 2015, and a judge for this year’s competition. Established in 1994, the Joop Swart Masterclass aims to reward the most talented emerging visual journalists and is designed to boost diversity in visual journalism and storytelling. This year 219 candidates from all over the world were nominated, and the 12 participants are: Mustafah Abdulaziz (US), Sharon Castellanos (Peru), Sabiha Cimen (Turkey), Samar Hazboun (Palestine), Alexandra Rose Howland (US), Katinka Hustad (Norway), Ksenia Kuleshova (Russia), Philip Montgomery (US), Léonard Pongo (Belgium), Ashfika Rahman (Bangladesh), Tasneem Alsultan (Saudi Arabia), and Cansu Yildiran (Turkey). There are also two runners-up, Alfredo Bosco (Italy) and Marie Hald (Denmark).
Anna Alix Koffi realised that the issue of women in photojournalism was so big that it warranted a publication of its own, and started thinking out a framework for a second edition of Visa Paper focusing on work by women. “I realised I could do this because there are women artists everywhere I go,” she says. “Most of the time publications don’t focus on women, but I knew that Woman Paper Visa would be special because women in photojournalism is a strong thing. It’s much more difficult than any other form of photography.”