The Robert Capa Gold Medal Award 2018

Best photographic reporting from abroad requiring exceptional courage and enterprise published in any medium


AWARD NAME: The Robert Capa Gold Medal Award 2018

AWARD RECIPIENT: Carolyn Van Houten


AWARD HONORED WORK: “The road to Asylum: Inside the migrant caravans”


Through a year of making monthly visits to document the stories of people at different stages of their trek north through Central America, Carolyn Van Houten brought a deep level of humanity and empathy to a story that saturated the news media. Courage in storytelling is not only defined by proximity to violence and danger, but also by having the guts to go where others are not, and to look beneath the surface to understand the true impact of these crises. Van Houten’s work demonstrates this, but more than that, she embodies this ethos as a storyteller and a person. This award is not just for her talent as a photographer, but for her compassion and courage in storytelling.

Fellow migrants try to help Keila Savioll Mejia, 21, as her daughter Camila, 4, sinks to her knees and wails, too tired to go on, in San Pedro Tapanatepec, Mexico, on Oct. 29, 2018. They were among thousands of migrants traveling in a caravan to the U.S. border. Photo: Carolyn Van Houten

Dozens of migrants in a caravan traveling toward the U.S. border scramble to jump onto a moving truck near Santiago Niltepec, Mexico, on their way to Juchitan, Mexico, on Oct. 30, 2018. The migrants were walking about 30 miles a day, so people were desperate to catch rides when they could. Photo: Carolyn Van Houten

Caleb Isaac Flores, 7, who had broken both of his arms while playing with other migrant children, stands for a portrait while a migrant caravan totaling thousands rested after traveling more than 30 miles to Juchitan, Mexico on Oct. 30, 2018. Because casts had been placed on both his arms, his father had to help him use the bathroom, eat and do other daily tasks. Caleb quickly tired of that, so his dad helped him cut off one of the casts. Photo: Carolyn Van Houten

Migrants traveling in a caravan towards the U.S. border rest after traveling more than 30 miles to Juchitan, Mexico, on Oct. 30, 2018. Some hitched rides for parts of the journey while others walked. This night they stayed in a stadium complex that was turned into a temporary camp. Thousands slept here in rows, often only inches apart. Medical care and food were provided. Photo: Carolyn Van Houten

Some of the thousands of migrants traveling in a caravan toward the U.S. border walk along a highway while others hitch a ride in a truck in Santiago Niltepec, Mexico, on their way to Juchitan, Mexico, on Oct. 30, 2018. While hundreds caught rides from local passersby or leapt onto passing trucks, doing so was risky for many families with small children, so they often walked straggling behind the rest of the group Photo: Carolyn Van Houten

Keneth Arguijo Gonzalez, 10, stands with his feet wrapped to cover open blisters and other damage from walking as the migrant caravan he is traveling with rests in Juchitan, Mexico, on Oct. 31, 2018. Migrants in the caravan are hitching rides on trucks, taking buses and often walking long distances as they try to reach the U.S. border. Photo: Carolyn Van Houten

Almairis Guillen and her son Miguel de Jesus Oseguera, 4, ride on the wheel well of a tanker truck along a highway in Santiago Niltepec, Mexico on their way to Juchitan, Mexico on October 30, 2018.
Traveling as a part of the caravan of thousands of migrants, the Honduran mother of five is hoping to make it to the U.S. to ask for asylum. “The truth is that I don’t know if they will help us,” she said. Photo: Carolyn Van Houten

Ingrid Hernandez sits in her friend Elvia Aldana's tent in the Movimiento Juventud 2000 shelter in Tijuana, Mexico, after trying and failing to reach her husband, Misael Bonilla, in the immigration detention center where he and their son, Leonel, were being held on May 14, 2018. She was trying to find out whether they would be released soon, because she did not want to present herself and her other two children at the border until she knew Misael and Leonel were safe and with her father in New York. While sitting in the tent, she talked to Elvia about her concerns and their plan to walk to the San Ysidro border crossing to find out how long they needed to wait to present themselves and ask for asylum. Ingrid did not want to cross without hearing from Misael, but she also did not want her family to miss their place in the waiting list to ask for asylum. If she delayed, the three of them would have to stay in the shelter at least another week. Photo: Carolyn Van Houten

Standing water remains after heavy rains flooded the stadium complex where members of a migrant caravan were staying in tents on Nov. 30, 2018, in Tijuana, Mexico. Partly because of the squalid conditions, the thousands of migrants with the caravan were moved to a different shelter across the city. Photo: Carolyn Van Houten

Evelyn Vega lays her head on Elmer Zelaya Gomez while their daughter Nayely Vega, 7, rests next to them under a tarp attached to the bars at the edge of the San Ysidro border crossing on May 1, 2018, in Tijuana, Mexico. They are among the group of Central American migrants waiting to walk to the U.S. border and have their cases processed. Stripes representing the Mexican flag loom over their heads as if a reminder of how far they still have to go. "We want to start another life, but it is not easy," Gomez said. A gang in his home country of El Salvador killed his son in February and threatened his family, he said. Photo: Carolyn Van Houten

Members of the migrant caravan board buses that would take them from Unidad Deportiva Benito Juarez, where thousands were staying outdoors in tents, to a new shelter in a vacant event space called El Barretal on Nov. 29, 2018, in Tijuana, Mexico. El Barretal is significantly farther from the border, and advocates said the area was plagued by the kind of gang activity that asylum seekers were fleeing in the first place. A few weeks later, two migrant teens were murdered in Tijuana while traveling between shelters to see friends. Gang involvement has not been confirmed. Photo: Carolyn Van Houten

Pedro Jimenez, 35, tries to climb the border fence at the beach on Dec. 1, 2018, in Tijuana, Mexico. He was trying to get himself and his 10-year-old son across the border to ask for asylum, because Jimenez’s brother had been murdered in Honduras. He and his son tried to cross at a different part of the fence, but they were approached by someone hiding in the bushes and told they had to pay. They emerged from the area visibly frightened. Pedro was testing the fence to see how best to cross, but did not make it across that night. Photo: Carolyn Van Houten


Citation for Excellence recipients: Khalil Hamra
Affiliation: The Associated Press
Honored Work: “Conflict in Gaza”

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