Fine Art Photography Daily

The International Women in Photo Association Awards: Louise Amelie: What Does Migration Mean for those who Stay Behind

LouiseAmelie_Growing Up

©Louise Amelie, Growing Up

This week Lenscratch is featuring the work of the 2023 winners of the International Women in Photo Association (IWPA) Awards.

Today is Louise Amelie a Berlin-based photographer, whose series What Does Migration Mean for those who Stay Behind was one of four finalists in the Professional Category. Louise Amelie’s gorgeous portraits are an artistic exploration of migration, highlighting individual stories with empathy, beauty, and even whimsy.

LouiseAmelie_At Issyk-Kul

©Louise Amelie, At Issyk-Kul

MISSING MEMBER – Kyrgyzstan, A Country On The Move


Louise Amelie’s documentary photo series is an artistic exploration of the global phenomenon of migration and its many facets, which are often ignored in European migration politics. Migration has always been an integral part of human experience and will continue to be. Yet in public discourse it is presented as an aberration, while the existence of nation-state borders is hardly ever questioned. On the globe, Kyrgyzstan nestles inconspicuously next to Kazakhstan and China, but on the ground the vastness and heights of the mountains seem endless. In contrast to the natural beauty, prefabricated housing estates spring up in the capital, Bishkek. Here lives a young population that, despite all the adversities of post-Soviet reality, faces the world with great confidence. In a collection of portraying photographs that foreground the individual stories, the series is an expression of solidarity and empathy, and shows that migration can mean both an opportunity as well as the painful loss of a beloved Missing Member.

The series and the book of the same name were the basis of the BERLIN BISHKEK Art WEEKS and were presented for the first time in the course of this art festival.


©Louise Amelie, Azis

Berlin-based photographer and director Louise Amelie, born in 1991, is acclaimed for her documentary and street photography. She is also the founder and Chairwoman of ArtCity e.V., an international Art and Culture Association. In 2023, she collaborated with the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Phase One, and Hatje Cantz Publishers for her book “MISSING MEMBER,” focusing on migration in Central Asia. The series received the World Report Award and the IWPA. Before this, her 2020 book “OFF WORLDS” explored the outskirts of American society, winning the Portrait of Humanity 2021 prize and the German Photo Book Prize 20/21.

Amelie’s earlier work includes the photo series “SOLE HARLEM,” depicting New York’s Harlem district, earning her the German Photo Book Prize 18/19 and a spot in the “Portrait Of Humanity” collection by Magnum Photos and the British Journal Of Photography in 2019.

She has a history of international exhibitions, with her latest work showcased at Tokyo, Lodi (Italy), and Berlin. Her notable awards include the IWPA, World Report Award, and recognition at the German Photo Book Prize, Portrait Of Humanity, and Belfast Photo Festival. Amelie’s exhibitions span from Tokyo to Los Angeles, Belfast, Arles, and beyond, showcasing her dedication to capturing the human experience and shedding light on vital social issues.

A special edition of her book, Missing Member, is available here.

Follow Louise on Instagram: @louise.amelie


©Louise Amelie, Bermet

LouiseAmelie_Countryside Contained

©Louise Amelie, Countryside Contained

LouiseAmelie_Gas Station Convo

©Louise Amelie, Gas Station Convo

LouiseAmelie_Girl in Little Store

©Louise Amelie, Girl in Little Store

LouiseAmelie_Ivan in National Dress

©Louise Amelie, Ivan in National Dress

LouiseAmelie_Man of Honor

©Louise Amelie, Man of Honor

LouiseAmelie_Mountain Night

©Louise Amelie, Mountain Night


©Louise Amelie, Passage

LouiseAmelie_Room for More

©Louise Amelie, Room for More

LouiseAmelie_Saadat Sundown (3)

©Louise Amelie, Saadat Sundown

LouiseAmelie_Tea Time

©Louise Amelie, Tea Time

International Women in Photo, IWPA, is a French non profit association that pursues two major MISSIONS on a global scale:

  • work for equality through photography in the world.
  • The promotion of women photographers and visual storytellers of all origins and nationalities.

The roots for IWPA’s goals lie in the under representation of women photographers. Unfortunately, women photographers still do not receive sufficient recognition nor assignments and only make up for a small percentage of all the photographs we see every day in the press, social media, museums or art fairs. IWPA fulfills a social role by drawing attention to social issues that are often ignored or simply not covered by the male dominated perspective of our world.

How do they fulfill these missions? IWPA wants to make women’s vision count by

  • Increasing the visibility and diversity of women photographers in the field of photography
  • Proposing actions around education and training in photography for women and students, enhancing their skills and reinforcing capacity buildin
  • Promote photography as an empowerment tool for girls and women
  • Using  photography as a tool to promote tolerant and non-sexist values

In order to give more visibility to women photographers, IWPA acts as a platform and organizes the annual IWPA Award, a photography competition that is followed by exhibitions in major cities and capitals across the Middle East, Asia and Europe showing the work of the laureate and finalists to a large and international audience.

Instagram @IWPA_photo

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