The Magnum Foundation established the Young Photographer in the Caucasus Award in 2009. The Award, with a $5000 first prize, recognizes outstanding documentary photography on a matter of social importance by a young photographer living in the Caucasus region.
The Award program is open to all photographers born after June 1, 1975, living in Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, the Republics of the North Caucasus in the Russian Federation (Daghestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, North-Ossetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karatshaevo-Tsherkessia, and Adigey Republic) and the Russian Federation regions of Stavropol Krai and Krasnodar. Existing United Nations standards on nationality and borders will be utilized for purposes of determining eligibility. Photographers affiliated with the Magnum Foundation or Magnum Photos and their immediate families are not eligible to participate.
The Magnum Foundation is pleased to announce the winner of the 2010 Young Photographer in the Caucasus Award. Karen Mirzoyan will receive $5,000 for his documentary photography project, Unrecognized, and will be presented with a statue by a Magnum Photographer at an awards ceremony held in Tbilisi, Georgia. Unrecognized will be projected at the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie in Arles, France, and at an R.I.P. Arles-Tbilisi event in Tbilisi, Georgia. No honorable mentions were selected for 2010.
This work focuses on Nagorno-Karabagh, a breakaway state in the Caucasus, hoping to join the list of republics that achieved recognition such as Kosovo, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The Nagorno-Karabakh war refers to the armed conflict that took place from February 1988 to May 1994, in the small ethnic enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in southwestern Azerbaijan, between the predominantly ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh backed by the Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, a clash between the principles of territorial integrity and self-determination, is the longest inter-ethnic dispute in the former Soviet Union. Ethnic Armenians, the majority in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, have a different culture, religion, and language than Azeris. They seek to join Armenia or to become independent. Azerbaijan seeks to preserve its national integrity. The dispute has produced violence, mutual expulsion of rival nationals, charges and countercharges.
Karen Mirzoyan was born in Tbilisi, Georgia in 1981 and moved to Armenia in 1992. Mirzoyan is the winner of the 2009 OSI Production Grant for his work on the increased rate of suicide among young people in Armenia. In 2010, he was selected to be a Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund photographer as well as a scholarship recipient for the 2010 New York University/Magnum Foundation Photography and Human Rights Program. His work has appeared in The Times (London, UK), FOTO 8 (London UK), Telegraph (online), GEO (Italy), National Geographic (Turkey), National Geographic Traveler (Armenia), CNN.com, and CBS news, amongst others. Mirzoyan is currently working on a larger project on suicide victims throughout various countries such as Lebanon, Armenia, and Turkey. This year he also started a project about underground culture in Iran.
Mirzoyan currently lives in Yerevan, Armenia.
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