Photo of the Year: The terrible story behind the image of this mutilated father playing with his son without arms or legs

The winners of the Siena International Photo Contest were announced on Tuesday, October 26. The prestigious Photo of the Year award went to Turkish photographer Mehmet Aslan for an image showing a father in Syria, one-legged, in a joyful and gentle gesture tossing his child, who has neither arms nor legs.

The image is titled Trials of Life, and it’s a name that says a lot about what its subjects had to go through. In the photo captured by Turkish photographer Mehmet Aslan, a Syrian father, who is missing a leg, plays with his young child, who for his part has neither arms nor legs.

Since Saturday, October 23, the visual arts festival in Siena, Italy, was held, during which the winners of the Siena International Photo Awards were rewarded. Several categories were represented, and it is in that of press or documentary photography that the author of this poignant image was rewarded. He thus won the prestigious photo of the year award.

The results of the Siena International Photo Awards, one of the most prestigious photography festivals in the world, have been announced. There were entries from 163 countries and my photo was awarded Siena Photo of the Year. This award has been a source of pride for me.

— Mehmet Aslan (@aslanmehmet)

The horrors of the war in Syria

The emotion provoked by “Trials of life” inevitably raises the question of the history hidden by this image where the joy of everyday life and the supposed pain of a difficult past, implied by the mutilations visible on the father and on the child.

If the first, Munzir, lost his leg because of the war in Syria, during a bombing in the city of Idlib, the son, Mustafa, aged 5, for his part, was born without arms or legs.

But this particularly rare malformation is also a consequence of the war in Syria. Indeed, her congenital disease was caused by the drugs her mother had to take during her pregnancy, due to the exposure to nerve gases she suffered during the war.

Hope to unblock the situation

After fleeing Syria, the family fled to Turkey, this is where the photo was taken by Mehmet Asla. The latter told the Washington Post that Munzir’s family initially wanted to find prostheses for Mustafa. Since then, due to unsuccessful searches in Turkey, the family, which has two other children, has moved once again.

“We have been trying for years to make our voices heard, hoping that someone will help us fund our son’s treatment. We would give anything to give him a better life,” the mother told The Washington Post. .

Hopefully the impact of this photo, selected among thousands of others, will allow the family to improve their situation and find prostheses for little Mustafa.


Photo Year terrible story image mutilated father playing son arms legs

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