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Hungarian Wins World Photography Awards with Stunning Images of Afghan Life

Fanni Kaszás 2018.04.20.

Each year, the Professional competition of the Sony World Photography Awards draws a huge variety of inspiring, engaging and emotional photography from around the world. This year, for the eleventh photo contest, 320,000 photographers sent in their materials from 200 countries around the world.

©Balázs Gárdi – Chapandazes, or horseback riders, fight for the calf carcass during a buzkashi match in Dawlatabad, Afghanistan.

Three Hungarian photographer’s works were shortlisted and Balázs Gárdi, who started his photography career at the closed left-wing daily Népszabadság, has won one of the 10 professional categories, the Sports category, with his photo series titled ‘Buzkashi.’


Buzkashi is Afghanistan's violent and ancient national sport, in which riders battle for control of an animal corpse that they carry toward a goal. Sixteen years after the U.S.-led invasion that ousted the Taliban, the sport is dominated by rival warlords who will do anything to maintain power in a turbulent country that once again is up for grabs.

Gárdi, who is currently live in the US, has appeared online and in print around the world, including Google, Harper’s, National Geographic Magazine, WIRED, Newsweek and The New York Times.

©Balázs Gárdi – Chapandazes, or horseback riders, fight for the calf carcass during a buzkashi match in Dawlatabad, Afghanistan.

Gárdi devoted over a decade to capturing the landscape of the war in Afghanistan, as well as the far-reaching consequences of the global water crisis. His dispatches from the Afghan front-line earned him the Bayeux-Calvados Award for War Correspondents, while his stories from the “water front” also received numerous honors, such as the Global Vision Award from Pictures of the Year International.

©Balázs Gárdi – A chapandaz, or horseback rider, sits on the ground after falling from his horse during a buzkashi match on the day of Nawroz, or Persian New Year, in Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan.

You can see the photos of the other category winners here.

In the video below, you can see how they play Buzkashi in Afghanistan:


photos: ©Balázs Gárdi