Freedom to Love competition winners announced

Lisa Van der Stock 1- winnerLiza Van Der Stock

Back in November last year we let you know about the Freedom of Love photography competition;  Liza Van Der Stock from Belgium has been announced as the latest winner. The competition set out to convey a window of hope for people who are negatively affected by discrimination and to raise awareness about the violence and the misery caused by hate crime.

Lisa Van der Stock 2 - winnerLiza Van Der Stock

Van Der Stock's images highlighted the life of male sex workers in Zanzibar, which is a predominantly muslim island. It portrayed the stigma associated with sex work and sexual orientation as well as showing how impossible it can be to openly express their true identity.

Shahria Sharmin 2 - second placeShahria Sharmin

Runner-ups in the competition were Shahria Sharmin and Gordon Welters. Sharmin's shot looked into the world of Hijras' third-gender communities.

Shahria Sharmin 1- second placeShahria Sharmin

 Welters focused on disability with a glimpse of hope expressed through the selfless love of a volunteer at a day centre in Russia.

Gordon Welters 1 - third placeGordon Welters

The competition was hosted by Accademia Apulia UK, a non-profit organization based in London which as been around since 2008. Its focus is to foster a cultural and professional exchange, and innovation, between communities worldwide. The photography competition is a way of acknowledging diversity in a fast-changing world while also inspiring artists from various communities around the globe to reflect on the importance of social inclusion.

The judges were Anne Williams from the London College of Communication, photojournalist Bradley Secker, Michael Pritchard from The Royal Photographic Society, Roger Tooth from The Guardian, and photographic critic Sue Steward from The Evening Standard.

Gordon Welters 2 - third placeGordon Welters

Michael Pritchard said, “The judges were impressed by the range of subjects covered by the entries. The three winners were able to highlight different aspects of discrimination and were also able to present a positive, personal sider for their subjects. The entires highlight that givernments, NGOs, and societies generally, still have much to do to ensure that diverse groups of people can co-exist and love without threat.”