Reportage photographer Daniel Berehulak was recently honored with POY’s Photographer of the Year award. We spoke with Daniel about the stories that mean the most to him, and how he brings a new approach to his daily news coverage:
What do you feel is the most important story that you worked on this year?
One of the most important stories that I covered this year was the worsening hunger crisis in Afghanistan. I accompanied New York Times journalist Rod Nordland to Helmand province and also to Kabul to document the large increase in malnutrition amongst children. It was harrowing photographing so many children that were so malnourished, crying in hospitals sometimes four to a bed, others laying on the floor. Hospitals like the Bost hospital in Lashkar Gah, the capital of war-torn Helmand province, had been registering significant increases in severe malnutrition among children. Countrywide, such cases had increased 50 percent or more compared with 2012, according to U.N. figures. Reasons for the increase were uncertain, and in dispute. Most doctors and aid workers agreed that the continuing war and refugee displacement were contributing factors. Some believed that a growing number of child patients may be at least partly a good sign, as it meant that more poor Afghans were hearing about treatment available to them.
How often do you experiment with different formats and what made you decide to shoot Kumbh Mela in panoramic?
I try to approach things differently, especially if the event lends itself to a different format. I am quite active on Instagram, filing pictures of daily life and outtakes from assignments or news events, such as when I covered Nelson Mandela’s farewell. With the Kumbh Mela I wanted to show the scale and magnitude of the event – this was believed to be the largest gathering of people on the planet; over 100 million people visited the area over a 55 day period. It was difficult on the ground and attempts to cover the story with a drone were not an option due to safety risks. I experimented with my iPhone and an app that had a 17x 6 format, which I felt lent itself to the Kumbh Mela. Along with the daily coverage that I filed to Getty I shot on the side with my iPhone, framing the incredible scenes with the panoramic app.
What does this award mean to you?
To be recognised by one’s peers is a huge honour, especially by Pictures of the Year International which is one of the only awards that has a photographer of the year award, and in a time when competition is so fierce with so many great photographers working as freelancers. I am glad to have covered important stories this year which bring some light to the issues.
See more of Daniel’s winning images on Getty Images In Focus