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Award for photographer with faith Brendan Esposito

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Women look through the window of a train bringing refugees to Lviv’s major rail station, on 8 March, 2022. Photo: ABC/Brendan Esposito

Sydney Catholic and ABC chief photographer Brendan Esposito has won a major industry award for his deeply moving images of people fleeing Ukraine.

The parishioner of All Saint’s, Liverpool, and St Anthony of Padua, Austral, won the Outstanding Portrait Photography prize at the 2022 NSW Kennedy Awards for the series in black and white taken in early March on a busy train station platform in Lviv, a major city in the country’s west near the border with Poland.

There passengers disembarked and in many cases, farewelled loved ones, before being processed as refugees.

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“What I witnessed was people that looked utterly shell shocked, lost and confused about what was next,” he said. “They had an uncertainty and a sadness etched on their faces as they arrived, looking through the train windows.

“They reminded me of many photographic archives I had seen over the years of World War II and it felt like history was repeating itself.”

Award-winning ABC photographer, Brendan Esposito at his home. Photo: Alphonsus Fok
Award-winning ABC photographer, Brendan Esposito at his home in south western Sydney. Photo: Alphonsus Fok

The father of five and grandfather to an ever-growing tribe, Brendan says his faith has been a “steadfast support” in his life and grounded him when experiencing challenging assignments such as almost a month in Ukraine at the start of the current conflict.

“It’s written that the eyes are the window to the soul,” wrote the Kennedy Awards judges of Brendan’s winning entry titled ‘All Eyes on Us’.

“If that is so, Brendan has masterfully used his eye, with a lens to succinctly capture through windows the lost souls of those in despair. As challenging, chaotic and confronting as this assignment would have been, he has focused on the heartbreaking humanity of the devastation in the Ukraine with sensitivity and sincerity.

“This is such a powerful and thought provoking portfolio that deserves attention and praise.”

Brendan told The Catholic Weekly that it was honour to have won the prestigious award against other very strong entries in the category.

“After so many years working in the urban landscape it’s always a rewarding experience to be noticed. This award is one of those moments that have made me stop and reflect on my personal and professional journey and know the grace of God is always with me through thick and thin.”


Eyes on the world


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