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Family Home Care and Nagybánya Segregation Photos Win Hungarian Press Photo Award’s Grand Prizes This Year

Ábrahám Vass 2020.04.17.

Despite the coronavirus outbreak, organizers still decided to announce the winners of the 38th Hungarian Press Photo Award‘s two grand prizes and present their work on the originally-planned opening day of the exhibition, April 16th.

The André Kertész Grand Prize has been awarded to Coma from Beáta Kovács’s photo series. “Sándor Balkovics and his wife, Márti, have been caring for their daughter Sári, at home since June 2017, as she had been hit at a pedestrian crossing on July 4, 2016. Sári has since been in an unresponsive wakeful state, meaning a persistent vegetative state with stable circulation. Her eyes are open, but no contact can be established with her. She responds poorly to treatments to maintain vital functions. Her parents have to deal with hopelessness every day, but they have both managed to find creative activities that allow them to relax and recharge.

In Hungary, twelve thousand people care for their chronically ill or severely disabled family members at home. The fate of the ill is largely influenced by the emotional richness, and physical and mental capabilities and tolerance of those caring for them.

While the [National Association of Hungarian Journalists] MÚOSZ Grand Prize went to ‘The wall we call a fence’ by András Hajdú D.

According to Hajdú D., “The idyllic town of Nagybánya (Baia Mare) in Romania hit the headlines in the June of 2011 when the mayor had an apartment block in Horea Street where gypsies live separated from the town by a two-meter wall. Then one year later, Romani people began to be evicted from Craica, an illegally built slum on the edge of town. The one hundred families kicked out so far have been compelled to move either to the premises of a chemical plant recently closed because of environmental pollution (Cuprom), or to the apartment block enclosed by the wall. Their evacuated shacks have been bulldozed to the ground.

The remaining residents of Craica have a choice: either lead pollution, or rats in the Horea Street apartment block. They fear for their squalid homes, in danger of demolition, or for their children, exposed to everyday violence in the new ghettos. The mayor has made it clear: eradication of the slums of Craica is just the first step. The goal is to get rid of these families, so in the spring of 2013, they will also be evicted from the town. The legal services protest in vain: Cătălin Cherecheș, the most popular local politician in the country, was re-elected by the residents of the town with a sweeping majority in June of 2012.”

featured image from ‘Coma’ from Beáta Kovács