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Current winners 2008 - New winners
  David Gillanders, September
Eugene Richards, September
Lynsey Addario, September
Lorena Ros, February
Ian Martin, February
Past winners 2007
  Jonathan Lowenstein, September
Leo Maguire, September
Jonathan Torgovnik, September
Ziyah Gafic, February
Christopher Anderson, February
Past winners 2006
  Sarah Caron, September
Rena Effendi, September
Simon Roberts, September
Kristen Ashburn, February
Andrew Testa, February
Past winners 2005  
  Balazs Gardi, September
Scott Lewis, September
Kai Wiedenhöefer, September
David S. Holloway, February
Dario Mitidieri, February
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Grant documentary work courtesy of Balazs Gardi
Grant Use Summary (by Balazs Gardi):
According to the most accepted theory, the origin of the Roma people is to be found in India, from where they moved to different parts of the world over the past centuries. Approximately 8 million Roma live in widely dispersed communities across Europe. Historically the largest communities are to be found in the countries on the Balkan peninsula and in Eastern Europe. I have worked on my project in nearly all of these countries in the past one year.

I grew up in Hungary, a country where similarly to all the neighbouring states, the Roma community is subject to deeply rooted prejudices. The unconscious mind of the people `develops a negative image` from childhood mocking rhymes, folk songs, everyday sayings, common tales, myths and even popular racist jokes.

Although during my previous work as a photojournalist I have taken numerous photos of the Roma in a rather ad hoc way, this current project is the first time that - by having spent a longer period of time with these people in several different countries - I systematically uncover this topic, I have seen how harsh the fate of the Roma children is in the Bulgarian winter, when in order to avoid freezing, they have to gather wood in the forests instead of going to their poorly heated school.

I have spent time with the Roma people in the refugee camps in Kosovo, who are despised and unwanted by any country, and who live in an endlessly miserable way even seven years after the war.

I attended Roma weddings, funerals, religious and cultural events and the Roma have shared their grief and joy with me and my camera. During my travels I have captured the many smiles in their grim lives, their never ceasing happiness despite their hopeless poverty, and I have experienced some of the strongest family togetherness in both good and bad times.

I sincerely hope that the audience will relive the most evoking moments through my photographs and will get to appreciate the Roma people and to eliminate their obscure prejudices.

Winning Project:
The "Roma" Community
The Gypsies or "Roma" as they widely call themselves are Europe's stateless people. At least eight million Roma are scattered throughout Central and Eastern Europe. For many centuries, the Roma have been despised and seen as alien, thieving sub-humans with no allegiance to any country or law.

While half a million Roma died in the Holocaust, they remain the one culture in the modern, democratic Europe for whom persecution is largely acceptable. The Roma culture, combined with discrimination from the general public, has produced a cycle of poverty, lack of education, bad health care and increased unemployment. These factors have contributed to rising crime rates, isolation and a fear and suspicion of outsiders.

With the benefit of the Getty Images grant, Gardi will document the hidden life of the Roma, visiting small communities that had previously remained closed, mysterious and consequently suspicious to even the most socially sensitive. He will use his experience as a photojournalist to bring focus and attention to the invisible, still virulent prejudice and mistreatment of the Roma to initiate change and redefine their role in today's society.

Balazs Gardi was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1975. He studied at the School of Photography, Hungary and later at the School of Photojournalism of the Association of Hungarian Journalists. After graduating in 1996, Gardi worked for Népszabadság, the largest Hungarian political daily newspaper, prior to becoming a freelance photographer in 2003 and documenting the everyday life of the Eastern European Roma community.

Gardi has received numerous awards for excellence in photojournalism, including being named Photographer of the Year three times in Hungary since 1998. He has won numerous prizes in the Hungarian Press Photo Contest including the Márton Munkácsi Prize for the best collection. In 2000, he was chosen for a World Press Photo "Joop Swart Masterclass" in Rotterdam, The Netherlands and in the same year was chosen as a finalist for the W. Eugene Smith Award.

Gardi received First Place in the Sports Stories category in the 2002 World Press Photo contest. In 2004, he won two prizes in the 61st Annual Pictures of the Year International competition: Award of Excellence in General Division/Science/Natural History Picture Story and Second Place in Magazine Division/Feature Picture Story; and in the same year, he was also selected for Photo District News' '30 under 30'.

With a grant he received from the Reuters Foundation in 2002, he spent a term at Cardiff University's School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies in Wales.

Gardi is a member of the Association of Hungarian Journalists and the Association of Hungarian Photographic Arts and currently serves as a board member of the Association of Hungarian Press Photographers.

See more photography by Balazs Gardi.
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