Unnamed Myanmarese photographer wins top prize at Perpignan photojournalism gala

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A Myanmarese photographer, who has not been named for security reasons, won the Visa d'Or News award at the international photojournalism festival in Perpignan in southern France for his coverage of the Spring Revolution in his homeland.

"He is probably the strongest photographer in the country," said Mikko Takkunen, the Asia photo editor for The New York Times, who collected the prize on behalf of the photographer.

"He is extremely happy and honoured to win this prize."

Takkunen said the photographer dedicated the prize to his peers in Myanmar who are working under difficult conditions.

His series of photographs Myanmar's "Spring Revolution" portray civilian protesters armed with stones, soldiers firing live bullets and families mourning their dead.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military seized power in a coup on 1 February coup leading to daily protests and a huge civil disobedience movement.

More than 1,000 civilians have been killed in the military crackdown, according to an advocacy group.

The anonymous photographer said in a message that he had been on the streets every day since February.

"I encountered many difficulties, working between bullet shots, tear gas and deafening grenades.

"On the ground, we stopped working with helmets marked "Press" as we realised the soldiers were targeting photographers," he said.

Among others nominated for the award was the Greek photographer Angelos Tzortzinis (AFP) for his work on the last days spent by migrants and asylum seekers at the Moria refugee camp in Lesbos,

Erin Schaff of The New York Times was considered for photographs depicting the storming of the Capitol in Washington and Danish Siddiqui for his work on the health crisis in his native India.

Siddiqui, who had been with Reuters since 2010, was killed in July while covering the fighting between the Taliban and Afghan forces.

Tribute to Sebastião Salgado

The festival also paid tribute to the renowned Franco-Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado, by awarding him the Figaro Magazine's Visa d'or d'honneur.

"It is a great pleasure and honour," said the 77-year-old photographer who has spent his life immortalising the conditions of the poorest people and their environments with his lens. He was given a standing ovation by the audience as he received the award with his wife Lélia.

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