Abel Ruiz de León Trespando Wins Bronze
Abel Ruiz de León Trespando, another new LPA member, won Bronze with his series of images depicting Afghan women. "I am a documentalist," says Abel, "but I think the portrait is everything in photography. I like to do different jobs, and portraits interest me."
"I think the history of the winning photographs is very interesting," he says. "The work is old, carried out in 2002. The series is of women prisoners in jail in Kabul. They live in cells without beds and have their young children in jail with them. No-one respects their fundamental human rights. Society has rejected these women, and their families have, too. They are accused of committing "crimes against the family" but these crimes can be anything from not attending to their husband to seeking a divorce. When a woman is freed from jail, the family doesn't welcome them back. They must flee to areas of the country away from their family and beg. Sometimes they turn to prostitution."
Abel recognises that photographers, documentalists and artists are facing economic challenges. "I hope this competition will help to show the work," he says. "After many years of work traveling the world and telling stories, there has to be a reward. And I think winning competitions and exhibiting in interesting places can help meet this goal."
Abel is now setting up a documentary agency in Spain. "I believe in this way of working," he explains. "I believe in time spent listening to people and looking for people with clear eyes. I am interested in festivals and really want to exchange experiences with other artists. I think that telling stories with respect, sensitivity, discretion and patience is an art."
Abel is currently heavily involved in a project on the Balkans. "I've been working on this project for two years," he says. "The area is familiar to me: I worked hard in Kosovo between 1998 and 2001. Two years ago, the Albanian community declared independence. My project is based on the recent history of Kosovo, through the voice of Serb and Albanian families. The project aims to make two television documentaries and I intend to do a photo exhibition with my work in Kosovo from 1998 to 2008."