The YRE Photo of the Year 2023 - THE WORLD’S A HARD PLACE by Michel Cecil from India

“This is a candid shot of a child working at welding at the age where he should have been having a life away from child labour, a life for a bright future, for education, nourishment, and self-health. Seeing this made me realise that even in this 21st century, an age we call modern, there are still these things going on, be it due to his own need for money for the family or for a way to get out of poverty,” with these words, Michel, the author, begins to describe his winning photography.

The photo impressed the Jury not only with its excellent technical processing, but also with a deeper message focusing on human. At first glance, photography may not seem to be connected to environmental issues, but they are hiding in the background. The Jury also pointed out that the author managed to connect several of the SDG´s goals in one picture.

This photo offers a concrete illustration that our emphasis on environmental sustainability should not be limited to environmental concepts alone, but should embrace and reflect all three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental, as interdependent and mutually reinforcing, with culture as the essential underlying element. As photo of the year, it captures a snapshot of the complex interdependence between human needs and the natural environment, between socio-economic development and culture, and between the local and the global.
— Bernard Combes, YRE Jury member, UNESCO

Michel, the author of the photo, described his motivation to submit this picture in the YRE competition: “Later on I approached this guy and had a talk and got to know he studies during the day and works by the night, I was bit moved after understanding his situation and opportunities as to mine, I wish to spread awareness regarding child labour through this picture and a request to help such kids in need of bright future not bright lights around.”

The Photo of the Year are usually announced every year after the International YRE competition and it will be used for the PR and communication purposes of the program.