Anna Boyiazis' "Finding Freedom In The Water" For World Photography Day

August 18, 2023 | Source: Monroe Gallery of Photography

Via World Press Photo on Instagram

August 18, 2023

In honor of World Photography Day on 19 August, we asked our executive director to share an image from our archive that she finds impactful. Joumana selected this image by Anna Boyiazis (@annaboyiazis), from the project ‘Finding Freedom in the Water,’ awarded in the 2018 Contest.⁣

There is a mesmerizing quality to this image that is both relaxing and daunting. Relaxing in the peace that you feel when you look at the girl’s faces floating in the water and daunting in its unfortunate reference to migrants dying at sea. However when you understand that the girls are students learning how to swim and perform rescues in Zanzibar, then you start to read the image in a new light. And, when you know that one of the highest causes of mortality in Zanzibar is drowning, especially for girls who have been discouraged from learning to swim because of the absence of modest swimwear, then you understand the image differently.

What I am moved by here is not only the extraordinary beauty of the photograph itself, but also the symbol that lies in these girls taking the power in their hands and learning how to swim, in order to challenge and change their reality and our misconception.” - Joumana El Zein Koury, World Press Photo executive director

Pictured here, students from the Kijini Primary School learn to swim and perform rescues in the Indian Ocean, off Muyuni Beach, Zanzibar. Traditionally, girls in the Zanzibar Archipelago have been discouraged from learning how to swim, largely due to the absence of modest swimwear. But in villages on the northern tip of Zanzibar, the Panje Project (panje translates as ‘big fish’) is providing opportunities for local women and girls to learn swimming skills in full-length swimsuits, so that they can enter the water without compromising their cultural or religious beliefs.

View more from Anna Boyiazis' "Finding Freedom In The Water' here.

Tags: Finding Freedom in the Water World Press Photo Zanzibar