I´m honored and very happy to have received this years Photodocumentary Award, from Arbetets Museum along with Per Anders Pettersson, Maja Daniels and Jan Nordström. It´s an award you can´t apply for. The Arbetets (Work) Museum has since 2001 awarded photographers for their projects or work with documentary focus. An award instituted to mark the importance of photojournalism and to stimulate new contemporary photo documentaries.
I´m honored to be one of the photographers selected to exhibit at the St Brieuc Photoreporter Festival later this year. So far renowned photographers like Carla Kogelman (South Africa), Arianna Sanesi (Italy), Kieran Dodds (GB), Majid Saeedi (Iran) and Ruth Macdowall (NZ) are among the selected photojournalists.
I received a grant from St Brieuc in collaboration with World Press Photo to continue my photographic journey in Moldova. The project "Silent Land" will be a monumental journey of silent portraits through a forgotten corner of Europe. I will document children sleeping in the fields guarding the crops and travel along the Dnietsr river that separates Moldova from Transnistria. In addition to the frozen conflict that characterizes the area around the Dnietsr river, Dniestr is also a haven for the Moldovans, a place were you go on vacation and young people party in the summer. I will work on the project in July, and hopefully I will blog and instagram when I have access to wifi.
For the past three years, an annual, secret summer camp has been held for women and children in Sweden who've been subjected to domestic and honor violence. The nature and beauty of the camp, which is organized by the Women's Rights Organization in Malmö, is meant to bring some sort of normalcy to the difficult lives of its attendees. Children play and smile, some take a bath in the lake for the first time, and mothers and children have the opportunity to do things together without fear.
From Catchlight/PhotoPhilantrophy website:
Åsa Sjöström's essay from secret Swedish camps offers a fascinating point of discovery into the issue of domestic and honor violence against women and children. Her ongoing project, The Secret Camps, documents life at this secluded refuge for women and children seeking to spend a few days of freedom swimming, exploring nature, and relaxing together without fear.
The images are haunting, delicate and unforgettable, as children in the photographs hide their faces with flowers and fading balloons, or stand dripping on a pier, having just swam in the lake.
"As a photojournalist, I want to create awareness and also to induce a genuine situation between me and the people in my photographs," says Sjöström. "Through a close collaboration, the Women's Rights Organization and the women gave me the full confidence to stay in the camps and to do narrative photographs."
Judges' Statement: Sjöström's visually distinctive approach evocatively captures the transformational time at the camps for women and children who have suffered domestic violence, and in so doing, she brings attention to an issue that affects women and children all over the world. We feel it's extremely important to talk about this subject, and are delighted to honor Sjöström for her imaginative, creative and well-edited series.