Photographer Guillermo Arias has won the Visa d’Or News award, the highest prize given at the ‘Visa pour l’image’ festival. The 31st occasion of the world’s leading photojournalism event came to its conclusion in Perpignan on Saturday. The prize recognises Guillermo Arias’s work which focuses on the migrant caravans in Central America.
Following his coverage in Central America, Guillermo Arias has won a host of prizes, including the top prize in the News category of POY Latin America 2019, and the Story News category in the Istanbul Photo Awards. His photo-reportage work covers the journey of thousands of Central American migrants travelling in vast groups in the hope of a better life. It conveys the difficulties they encountered once they reached the border between the United States and Mexico, and their desperate struggle to cross, at any cost, the physical barriers that stood between them and their American dream.
In February 2017, Guillermo Arias, an AFP photographer based in Tijuana on the United-States border, spent ten whole days following the border between Mexico and the United States from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, a distance of more than 3,000km.
“It is truly an honour to receive this award from the world’s most prestigious photojournalism festival”, said the reporter, himself from Mexico. “But what matters most is that we shed light on the migrant problem, which is a universal issue.”
“This is the third time in three years that Visa has awarded a prize to an AFP photographer”, pointed out Fabrice Fries, AFP’s CEO. “We are proud of this latest, prestigious mark of recognition of the Agency’s journalistic excellence.”
According to Marielle Eudes, Photo Director of AFP, the prize is a: “Recognition of the long-term effort of Guillermo, a photographer who is both humble and extremely talented and who offers an alternative and sensitive angle on migratory issues in relation to the border, while always maintaining an appropriate distance. For several years now, he has made very precious contributions to illustrate what is happening at the border, which he has visited and explored many times.”
Thanks to a 450-strong network of photographers, AFP distributes over 3,000 photos per day, and regularly receives the most prestigious of international awards. AFP’s image bank is fed by more than 50 partners who constantly enrich the collection of some 39 million pictures.