Stephanie Sinclair

2015 Honoree: Humanitarian Award


Stephanie Sinclair is known for gaining unique access to the most sensitive gender and human rights issues around the world. She has photographed the defining conflicts of the past decade with fearless persistence. Although she has covered the dramatic events of war, her most arresting works confront the everyday brutality faced by young girls. Sinclair’s 13 year project, Too Young to Wed, began after encountering young Afghan women who’d set themselves on fire as a result of being forced into marriage as children. From Afghanistan, she went on to photograph underage wives in Nepal, India, Ethiopia, Tanzania, South Sudan, Yemen, and the Americas. Her studies of domestic life in these countries bring into sharp relief the physical and emotional tolls that entrenched social conventions can take on those most vulnerable to abuse. Sinclair’s images mark an exchange of trust and compassion. But by consenting to be photographed at their most vulnerable, the people depicted in these images also demonstrate a rare bravery.

Sinclair is also the Founding Executive Director of Too Young to Wed, a nonprofit providing visual evidence of the human rights challenges faced by girls and women around the world. Using the power of visual storytelling, Too Young To Wed amplifies the voices of courageous girls and women to generate attention, passion, and resources and inspire the global community to act to end child marriage. Too Young to Wed transforms influential advocacy into tangible action on the ground through partnerships with international and local NGOs and by supporting initiatives in the communities where the girls in our stories live.

Sinclair’s honors for this project include three World Press Photo awards and exhibitions in 27 countries including prestigious venues such as at the United Nations (2012, 2014) and the Whitney Biennial (2010) in New York. She’s also earned the 2008 CARE International Award for Humanitarian Reportage and The Overseas Press Club’s Olivier Rebbot Award (2009) for her work on female genital mutilation (FGM). Other honors include three Visa D’Or awards from the Visa Pour L’Image photojournalism festival in France and a Pulitzer Prize (2000). Sinclair’s photographs are regularly published worldwide in esteemed outlets such as National Geographic and The New York Times Magazine.