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Maltese photojournalists wins International award for project on his late daughter

Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi | Reuters

Local photojournalist Darrin Zammit Lupi has won the Yannis Behrakis International Photojournalism Award for 2021, with his project titled: The first photo I ever took of my daughter, and the last.

The project was published by Reuters back in April of this year, and consists of a series of photographs of Darrin and his daughter Rebecca, who he refers to as Becs, as she battled an aggressive form of cancer, during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Becs passed away earlier in January, 2021.

“I took the first photo of my daughter, Rebecca, moments after she was born on the 3 of august, 2005. Barely more than 15 years later, I took the last photo of my daughter moment after she died of cancer on the 3 of January, 2021,” said Darrin. “As a photojournalist, it was only natural that I’d documented just about every moment of the beautiful life of Becs, as my wife Marisa and I called her… Bec’s battle was made even worse by a global pandemic that brought paranoia over the possibility of infecting her compromised immune system, anxiety over medical supply chains, and worst of all, separation at a time when togetherness was what we needed most.”

Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi | Reuters

Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi | Reuters

The winners of the award were announced at an event at the Dome of Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre (SNFCC) in Athens, on 1 June. The runners-up of the award were Emilio Morenatti from Spain of AP, with the project COVID-19: Devastation and Death on Spain’s Elderly and Jeremy Lempin from France, with his project Doctor Peyo and Mr Hassen.

Darrin Zammit Lupi’s award was announced by Elisavet Saridou Behraki, the chair of the contest’s jury, who said: “When you are a photographer, your camera and your lens are an extension of your body. You instinctively record what your mind and heart believe to be important. It is part of the puzzle of life… Many and remarkable participations, again, this year, with photographs and stories that fill you with emotions. These are the driving force after all… the testimony of the soul of this year’s winner is a punch in the stomach. Darrin Zammit Lupi, we stand by your side.”

The photojournalist said: “I know Becs is smiling up there. Winning the Yannis Behrakis International Photojournalist Award for her story is an honour beyond compare. This award is hers as much as it is mine, if not even more so.”

Check out his acceptance speech at 47:22 in the below:

Check out more of Darrin Zammit Lupi’s work here