Portrait | Nominee

Emeke Obanor

Effurun / NG



"I don't have any pleasant grownup memories. The only place where I find my happy memories is in my childhood passport photo". - Uche.

Dark memories are a provocative photos that tells the stories of victims of child-trafficking in Nigeria, who have overcome unimaginable adversity, forced-labor, & sexual-exploitation & now seek to rebuild their lives.

The girls and I collaborated on this project to reveal their shared experiences of being traded by their wards as children and exposed to inhumane treatment in the hands of their "buyers". It also reveals their courage to speak out after escaping the grasp of their handlers, as well as their motivation to set out on the quest to reclaim their lives through counseling and their dignity through formal education.

In a reminiscence therapy, the subjects express themselves through their infant photos, which are their happy memories but remain blurred until they are ready to fully reveal themselves on their journey toward discovery, healing


Emeke Obanor is a contemporary fine art and documentary photographer and an advocate based in Nigeria. He uses photography as a medium to raise awareness around social justice issues, shining light on injustices facing people in his environment as well as across borders. He is driven to photograph because it has the power to make changes, sway emotions, and even possibly change peoples world view. He likes to work on new projects when there is potential to improve humanity, and when projects have received little or no attention, he believes this can give those people a voice. Experienced in art and documentary photography - Emeke Obanor's photography reveals and restores dignity to the photographed subjects, through the explicit aesthetic beauty of his images - critical thinking, analysis, and strong attention to small details

University of Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria


  • 2021 Winner of Allard Prize for Photography
  • 2021 Winner of German Peace Prize for Photography
  • 2021 CAP Prize Shortlist
  • 2021 UNICEF Photo of the Year ( Honorable Mention)
  • 2020 Winner of Michael Reichmann Project Grant
  • 2020 Winner of Afred Fried Peace Medal
  • 2020 Finalist of Global Peace Photo Award
  • 2020 International Photography Grant Talent of Year Award
  • 2020 Edition Finalist of Luis Valtueña International Humanitarian Photography Award
  • 2020 Winner of Allard Prize