Iranian photographer Asghar Khamseh wins L’Iris d’Or Photographer of the Year

© Asghar Khamseh, Iran, Photographer of the Year, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards
© Asghar Khamseh, Iran, Photographer of the Year, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

Following a record-breaking 230,103 submissions to its ninth edition, the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards, World’s largest photography competition awards’ Honorary Judging Committee has selected Iranian photojournalist Asghar Khamseh as the recipient of its most coveted prize, the L’Iris d’Or Photographer of the Year and  $25,000 prize for powerful portraits of acid attack victims.

Chosen from the winners of the awards’ fourteen Professional categories, the winning work, ‘Fire of Hatred’, is a powerful portrait series tackling the social issues around the violent act of acid throwing.

Born in Tehran in 1963, Asghar Khamseh is a photojournalist with Mehr News Agency, Iran, whose work focuses on social issues.

The winning series ‘Fire of Hatred’ is a powerful series of portraits of the victims of acid attacks.  This beautiful yet thought-provoking work examines the social issues around this violent crime – looking past the physical and psychological damages suffered, and towards the social stigma and blame the victims, who are mainly women and children, suffer.

Dominique Green, Chair, Documentary Jury said of the work:

Portraits of disfigurement resulting from social violence are undoubtedly a hard-hitting subject, and one which the longstanding tradition of documentary photography does not shy away from. The power of Asghar Khamseh’s imposing series ‘Fire of Hatred’ is such that he enables the viewer to face head-on intimate images, which could be testing to examine closely, with empathy and respect which in turn allows the viewer to become a witness and not just a spectator. The Jury were united in their admiration of this work and the light it shed on the tragic practice it exposes.”

Exhibition and book

All the winning and shortlisted images will be exhibited at Somerset House, London from 22nd April – 8th May.  The exhibition will also include a special dedication to Outstanding Contribution to Photography recipients, RongRong & inri.

The exhibition is accompanied by a book of the winning and selected shortlisted works, available to buy from

Fire of Hatred

The violent act of acid throwing is primarily against women and children. These attacks are committed with the intent to disfigure, maim  and  destroy  the  social  life  and  future of the victim. The motivation to commit this type of violence is cultural destitution, intolerance and happens in situations such as family conflicts, rejected marriage  proposal, revenge and divorce requests. In addition physical and  psychological damages, victims are faced with the experience of social stigma ,blame and social unpleasant tags.

© Asghar Khamseh, Iran, Photographer of the Year, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

© Asghar Khamseh, Iran, Photographer of the Year, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

Mohsen Mortazavi 34-year-old resident Tehran. On the first day of  work  in  2012,  his  co-worker  welcome him with 3 litres of sulfuric acid and after that  knifed  him  16  times  in  revenge  for making   prank calls and after his co-worker understood  that  Mohsen  did  not make prank call, it was someone else. Mohsen lost his beauty, right eye,head skin and right ear eardrum and auricle. He had a lot of operation surgeries and still needs to have more.


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