Chris de Bode wins First Place prize at lensculture Portrait Award 2017

Chris de Bode has been awarded the First Place in the Single Image category of this year’s lensculture Portrait Award for his image of Clara and Zacharias, a father and daughter photographed on a malnutrition ward at the Hospital Central de Beira in Mozambique.

Chris remembers the day he took the photo in Beira:

“I met Clara and Zacharias in early 2017 while I was on assignment for Save the Children (Netherlands) in Mozambique. During my stay I visited the malnutrition ward of Hospital Central in Beira. On my last day I decided to revisit the hospital and make portraits of the admitted children with their carers. It was for me the most direct way to pay my respect to them. What I saw and felt was an unconditional love for each other. I believe and hope that the viewer feels what I felt when I was photographing.

It was so hot inside the building. My shirt was completely wet and I didn’t know if it was tears or streams of sweat running down my face. I was touched by what I saw in front of my eyes. It feels strange that I win awards with images that have more than once depicted the misery of others. On the other hand, it is my role to create empathy for people who find themselves in a situation they didn’t chose or create.

When you look at the image of Zacharias holding Clara I hope you see the love of a father for his daughter he might loose, instead of two victims of fate. I hope that you stay with them for a short while and feel for them instead of turning away. I realise that through winning this award more people can be part of Clara and Zacharias’ story. I am very grateful for that.”