Audience Award sends clear message; hands off of love!

The 2015 Audience Award is won by the single image ‘Muslim Pride’ by Mariam Magsi. 18% of the voters chose this picture as their favorite. The runner up is Tatiana Vinogradova’s portrait series ‘Days of Melancholy’ about Russian gays who are being herded back into the closet by the ban on ‘LGBT propaganda’. Third came Melody Melamed with her series ‘Two is One’.
 
“The audience sends a clear message to the political and religious leaders of this word: everybody has the right to be themselves. It’s not up to you to decide who we may or may give our hearts to. This is love. Hands off!’ says chairperson of Pride Photo Award, Margriet van der Linden.
 
Muslim Pride © Mariam Magsi
 
Winner Mariam Magsi is fascinated by the burqa. “It is in itself oppressive and limits the individual buried beneath, but it also liberates closeted gays, lesbians and transgenders in the Middle East who use veiling to their advantage”, says Magsi, a photographer with a Pakistan background, doing her masters at the prestigious Ontario College of Art and Design.
 
Days of Melancholy © Tatiana Vinogradova
 
In ‘Days of Melancholy’ the Russian Tatiana Vinogradova pictures ten men, each alone in a shadowy interior. Each of the pictures includes a quote that underlines the increasing intolerance towards homosexuality in Russia. One of the men says: “I’m trying to prepare myself for loneliness. I don’t cherish any illusions about surrogate mothers and mythical children that gays can adopt. I picture a scenario where there is no one to bury me.”
 
Two is one © Melody Melamed
 
Melody Melamed, who became third in the Audience Award says about her series ‘Two is One’: I challenge the role of gender by engaging with my subject’s masculinity and feminity, thus creating an image where man is woman and woman is man.”
 
Over 23.500 people visited the Old Church of Amsterdam to see the exhibition, which tell stories of unconventional people and unconventional love. We were very happy to receive so many visitors from so many countries. We also thank all the hosts who spent so many hours in the cold church to give background information and guided tours.

The photos are now packed up, soon to be unveiled again at several future exhibitions!

Pride Photo Award is an annual international contest for photos about sexual and gender diversity.

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