Heba Khamis’s Photography Project “Black Birds” Wins 2nd Place in 2019 World Press Photo Contest

April 27, 2019                              WoE Team

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Heba Khamis, Photo by Carla van de Puttelaar

Egyptian visual researcher and photographer Heba Khamis, won second prize in People Category Singles, in the 2019 World Press Photo contest. Her winning project titled Black Birds is about the lives of undocumented young refugees in Germany who hide from deportation or wait – for five to seven years – for refugee status. With no work visa, they live and work in the park as gay sex workers.

The winners for the 2019 contest were chosen by an independent jury that reviewed more than 78,801 photographs entered by 4,738 photographers from 129 countries. This is her second win. In 2018, Khamis won the first prize for her project, Banned Beauty, about the practice of breast ironing of pubescent girls in Cameroon. She’s the first Egyptian female photographer to win this award.

In 2017, Khamis also received the PHmuseum’s Women Photographers Grant, and the Ian Perry award.

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Black Birds by Heba Khamis

She graduated with a bachelor in painting from the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Alexandria, and shifted her career to become a photojournalist. Khamis covered the two revolutions in Egypt, freelancing for the Associated Press News Agency (AP), the European Press Photo Agency (EPA) and “Xinhuanet”, the Chinese News Agency. She also worked as a photojournalist for the Egyptian newspaper, El Tahrir.

After volunteering in Uganda, her photography evolved, “from hard news to a more documentary style,” she says. Her work now focuses more on the social and humanitarian issues “that are sometimes ignored.”

Banned Beauty
Banned Beauty by Heba Khamis

In 2016, she obtained a diploma in photojournalism from the Danish school of media and journalism. In 2017, she received another diploma in photojournalism fromHochschule

Hannover University of Applied Sciences and Arts. Khamis is working on mixing her artistic skills and the photojournalistic experience to create her own style in documentation.

Her previous projects included Women of Villages, which focused on Egyptian village breadwinners’ women. She is currently working on Refugees Gay Prostitution in Germany and Transgenders in Egypt.

Photos courtesy of Heba Khamis’s Facebook page and website.

Visit Heba Khamis website here

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