The Robert Capa Gold Medal Award 2016


Bryan Denton, left, and Sergey Ponomarev.

Best published photographic reporting from abroad requiring exceptional courage and enterprise


AWARD NAME: The Robert Capa Gold Medal Award

AWARD RECIPIENTS: Bryan Denton and Sergey Ponomarev



Bryan Denton and Sergey Ponomarev showed exceptional courage, advancing with Iraqi Special Forces and Kurdish fighters into Islamic State-occupied areas, and they captured intimate views into the lives of those affected by war. The images were artful as well as powerfully journalistic.

Kurdish pesh merga fighters fired across a berm overlooking Islamic State positions in the battle to retake the city of Mosul, Iraq's second largest, from the extremist group in October. Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced the commencement of the campaign to retake the city early that morning, hours before forces from the Kurdish pesh merga, backed by US airstrikes, launched attacks along the eastern front, pushing into several villages controlled by the Islamic State. Photos: Bryan Denton and Sergey Ponomarev
A family fled the fighting in Mosul past oil fields set alight by Islamic State militants near Qayyara, Iraq in November. Seeking to escape the bloodshed, more civilians than ever took the risk of evacuation that month, hoping to find help if they could make it past the militants’ gun range. By December, up to one million people were trapped inside the city, running low on food and drinking water and facing the worsening cruelty of Islamic State fighters. Photos: Bryan Denton and Sergey Ponomarev
After weeks of battle to retake Falluja from the Islamic State last summer, the main road was left badly damaged. As of June 26, Iraqi Security forces announced that they had captured all of the districts within the Falluja city limits, despite a few holdout Islamic State fighters. The offensive sent tens of thousands of residents fleeing into the scorching deserts of Anbar province seeking shelter. Photos: Bryan Denton and Sergey Ponomarev
A boy mourning over the body of his father, killed by the Islamic State, as he arrived at a field clinic near the front-lines in the battle for Mosul in November. When the battle began, the government, fearing an exodus of civilians it could not care for, urged residents to stay in their homes. Most did, and weeks into the battle, civilians were dying in growing numbers. Photos: Bryan Denton and Sergey Ponomarev
A hook connected to a winch used for hoisting prisoners during torture, and a set of batteries and a converter to direct current, used for electrocution, were the centerpiece of the stairway of a home used by Islamic State fighters as a prison complex in central Falluja. Photos: Bryan Denton and Sergey Ponomarev
American-trained Iraqi Special Forces soldiers advanced into Falluja in June as smoke from airstrikes and artillery rose in the background. The offensive ended in victory that month and sent tens of thousands of Sunni civilians fleeing into the scorching desert. Photos: Bryan Denton and Sergey Ponomarev
Young fighters from a pro-government militia, one carrying an Iraqi flag, posed with the beheaded body of an Islamic State fighter that had been dragged through Falluja and left to bake in the sun in June. The battle for Falluja inflamed the desire for revenge among Iraqis who support the government against members of the Islamic State, or those believed to have supported them. Photos: Bryan Denton and Sergey Ponomarev
Vehicles and soldiers from Iraq's counterterrorism forces wait on the Erbil-Mosul highway in Bartella as explosives specialists cleared a road in October. This photo was made shortly before the suicide car bomb that wounded photographer Bryan Denton. Photos: Bryan Denton and Sergey Ponomarev
Fleeing fighting in Mosul in November, residents carry belongings and white flags as they approach advancing Iraqi security forces. Some fear that the increasing number of refugees, and their vulnerability, could bring another wave of sectarian revenge in a country rife with it. Photos: Bryan Denton and Sergey Ponomarev
A biblical scene defaced by the Islamic State in Bartella, Iraq. Some of the early gains in the campaign to retake Mosul from the Islamic State late last year were the liberations of historically Christian villages and towns, including Qaraqosh, Iraq’s largest Christian city, and Bartella. There were early feelings of jubilation, but just as quickly it became apparent that rebirth for the Christian community in Iraq is unlikely, given how few seem to want to return. Photos: Bryan Denton and Sergey Ponomarev
Mustafa Muhammad weeps as he holds the body of his year-old niece, Amira Omar, at a field hospital near Mosul in November. All her father could do was bundle her in a golden blanket, carry her to a nearby mosque and bury her. As the fight for Mosul reached its sixth week, civilians paid a growing price. Photos: Bryan Denton and Sergey Ponomarev
A tied, decomposing body at a mass grave discovered on the outskirts of Hamam al-Alil in November. Iraqi security forces regularly uncovered mass graves, a gut-wrenching constant in Iraqi life: the disappearance of loved ones into the machinery of despotism. Photos: Bryan Denton and Sergey Ponomarev

Citation Recipient: Goran Tomasevic, Zohra Bensemra, Mohammed Salem and Ahmed Jadallah
Affiliation: Reuters
Honored Work: “Battle for Mosul”
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