Marai Photo Award
Winners are

Marai Photo Award: My Afghanistan

Marai Photo Award: My Afghanistan

Marai Photo Award 2021

"My Afghanistan"

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April 27, 2021

We are pleased to announce the winners of the Marai Photo Award 2021 competition.

The Marai Photo Award 2021 winners

Single Photo category:
Mohammad Ismail
"Afghan amputee swimmer"
Photo Story category:
Mohammad Aref Karimi
"Silkworm road"

The press release can be found here.

See Awards page

April 21, 2021

Finalists have been selected in each category:

Photo Story:

  • Hedayatollah Amid for "Photos beyond the headlines" story
  • Mohsen Hussaini for "The Afghan hero" story
  • Mohammad Ismail for "Afghanistan's Charlie Chaplin" story
  • Mohammad Aref Karimi for "Silkworm road" story

Single Photo:

  • Mohammad Ismail for "Afghan amputee swimmer" photo
  • Mohammad Ali Mirzayee for "Art and culture" photo
  • Mohammad Ali Sheida for "A beautiful night in Afghanistan" photo
March 16, 2021

Entries are now closed. Thank you for your participation.

March 11, 2021

Registration is closed.

February 16, 2021

Marai Photo Award 2021 is now open for entries until March 16, 2021 (13:00 Afghan Time).
A new category has been added to the contest. Participants can take part in the "Single Photo" category in addition to "Photo Story".
We look forward to receiving your applications.

January 27, 2021

We are pleased to announce that the Marai Photo Award 2021 will soon be open for entries. Participants should register first and will be able to submit entries after their registration is approved according to the rules of the award.

Entry period:

  • Registration: February 16, 2021 - March 11, 2021 (13:00 Afghan Time).
  • Submission: February 16, 2021 - March 16, 2021 (13:00 Afghan Time).

View all

About the Marai Photo Award

Photo by Wakil Kohsar / AFP

Photo by Wakil Kohsar / AFP

On April 30, 2018, Shah Marai, chief photographer of the Agence France-Presse (AFP) Kabul Bureau, was killed in a suicide attack.
Throughout his career, Shah Marai dedicated himself to showing the reality of life in Afghanistan in the midst of terror. In honour of his work, AFP is organising a photography contest in his name. This contest also aims to support Afghan photographers.

If you would like to find out more about Shah Marai, please visit this blog.

"My Afghanistan"
Afghan photographers living in Afghanistan or overseas, OR naturalised citizens of Afghan origin. Participating photographers must be able to provide a valid ID and be of legal age according to Afghan laws or the laws of their country of citizenship on March 11, 2021.
  • Single Photo: Maximum three photographs; each image will be judged separately.
  • Photo Story: A series of 7-15 on a single theme that tells a story in pictures, with a text description (1200 characters max.).
  • Marai Photo Award website opens for entry on February 16, 2021.
  • Registration deadline is on March 11, 2021 (13:00 Afghan Time).
  • Submission deadline is on March 16, 2021 (13:00 Afghan Time).
  • Marai Photo Award winners in both Single Photo and Photo Story categories will be announced in April 2021.
  • If the health situation and travel restrictions allow it, winners will be invited to attend the award ceremony in Paris (TBD).

Single Photo:

  • Nikon Z 6II camera
  • NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4S

Photo Story:

  • Nikon Z 6II camera
  • NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S

Concept for the Marai Photo Award: "My Afghanistan"

To the outside world, Afghanistan is defined by the images of violence and tragedy that appear regularly in international news. But there's another side to the country, full of warmth and humanity, which is rarely reported on. Shah Marai understood the importance of showing this side of Afghanistan to the world, and not just what happens on the front lines of conflict. That's what inspired "My Afghanistan." To respect and remember Marai's work, we are inviting Afghan photographers to submit their own pictures of the country.

We are looking for pictures that show the reality of daily life, and that offer insights into culture, social issues and the environment which can only be discovered by people who've been there, telling the story of their Afghanistan.


If you have any inquiries, please contact us by e-mail here.