American photojournalist Heidi Levine has won the first Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism award, the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) has announced. The $20,000 prize was established in memory of Niedringhaus, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press photographer who was killed while covering the elections in Afghanistan in 2014.
Levine, who lives in Jerusalem, has covered the ongoing conflict in Gaza. ““Her courage and commitment to the story in Gaza is unwavering. She documents tragic events under dire circumstances while displaying a depth of compassion for the people she encounters,” the jury wrote in a statement announcing the award.
Jurors included former photographer Corinne Dufka of Human Rights Watch, Washington Post photographer Carol Guzy, Associated Press director of photography Santiago Lyon, New York Times assistant managing editor and director of photography Michele McNally, Time director of photography Kira Pollack, and IWMF board member Bryan Monroe.
Levine will receive her award at a ceremony in Berlin in June.
The jury awarded honorable mentions to photojournalist Anastasia Vlasova, for her coverage of the ongoing conflict in Eastern Ukraine; and AP photographer Rebecca Blackwell, for her work in the Central African Republic.
“We are proud to honor and celebrate the courage of women photojournalists who risk their lives documenting conflict and war while shedding light on moments of humanity,” IWMF Executive Director Elisa Lees Muñoz said.
Niedringhaus was traveling with a convoy of Afghanistan election workers in April 2014 when a police officer approached her and opened fire with his AK-47. Another journalist, AP correspondent Kathy Gannon, was also shot, but survived the attack.
Afterwards, Washington, DC-based IWMF established the Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award with funding from the Howard G. Buffet Foundation. The award will be given annually, according to IWMF.