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Kosuke Okahara wins the 2014 Boulat Association Award

Kosuke Okahara wins the 2014 Boulat Association Award

© Kosuke Okahara

August 2014

The Pierre & Alexandra Boulat Association Award 2014, supported by Canon France, has selected Kosuke Okahara, a Japanese photographer living in Paris, France, to receive the award – an €8000 grant from Canon – for his remarkable body of work chronicling life in a Colombian drug production centre.

The Pierre & Alexandra Boulat Association was formed in 2007 in memory of the late ‘Life’ magazine photojournalist Pierre Boulat and his daughter, VII photographer Alexandra Boulat, who passed away, aged 45, in October 2007. The Boulat Association Award was launched in 2008 and the award is presented to a professional photographer of any age, sex or nationality who wishes to cover a social, economic, political or cultural issue in a journalistic manner.

Kosuke Okahara
© Kosuke Okahara

A mother and her child sit at the entrance of their house in Medellin, Colombia.

“It’s such an honour to receive this award,” Kosuke Okahara told CPN. “Alexandra Boulat’s photographs were among the first pictures that inspired me when I first started photography in 2003.”

“I really appreciate that the Boulat Award has given me an opportunity to continue and eventually try to finish my project in Colombia.”

He continued: “Colombia is a beautiful country with beautiful-minded people, even if they have a lot of difficulties in their society. I have been there ten times now. I fell in love with the country and its people. They are some of the nicest and friendliest people I have ever met.”

“I always feel that sense of responsibility in bringing the story back because there are people who showed their life to me. The Boulat Award and grant it gives me will be a big help in allowing me to reach a wider audience. Showing my work to as many different kinds of people as possible is always important to me so that more can aware of the story.”

Kosuke Okahara
© Kosuke Okahara

A gangster in Medellin, one of the most notorious neighbourhoods in Colombia. He was attacked by rival gang groups several times and luckily escaped.

For his project in Medellin, Colombia – one of the world’s most dangerous places – Kosuke Okahara used a Canon EOS 5D Mark II with an EF16-35mm f/2.8L USM lens. A participant in the Joop Swart Masterclass in 2009, he cites his experience at the Masterclass as being particularly helpful in editing this body of work.

Previous winners

Kosuke Okahara will receive the award during the evening screening at the Visa pour l'Image international festival of photojournalism in Perpignan, France, on Thursday 4 September 2014. The five previous winners of the Pierre & Alexandra Boulat Association Award have been: Arnau Bach (2013), Maciek Nabrdalik/VII (2012), Lizzie Sadin (2010), Maisie Crow (2009) and Jean Chung (2008).