Yasuyoshi Chiba, crowned "Agency Photographer of the Year 2021" by The Guardian picture desk
Yasuyoshi Chiba, AFP photojournalist since 2011, has been named "Agency Photographer of the Year 2021" by the British daily The Guardian for his outstanding news coverage throughout the year, from Uganda to Japan.
Starting with the elections in Uganda, moving to the Kimana Sanctuary in Kenya, stepping into the Tigray region of Ethiopia, crossing continents to cover both Olympics and Paralympics in his home country, Japan, before returning to Kenya; Yasuyoshi Chiba recalls a year full of rich experiences and stories in a context of uncertainty, as he tells The Guardian:
"The year has been a reminder that my work is dealing with an unexpected future. Thanks to the delivery of the Covid-19 vaccines, the world has slowly resumed, and I also again feel the value of being in the field for photography."
Going back on his experience, he gives a powerful signal of trust to local photographers in Eastern Africa:
"When I look back on this year’s works, apart from my own photography, I appreciate receiving great images from local photographers from each country in east Africa.
In this pandemic with movement restrictions, their presence is reassuring. So one of my tasks in 2022 would be encouraging them to deliver more visual stories to the world.", he says.
Discover more about Yasuyoshi Chiba's work in 2021 on The Guardian website.
Based in Nairobi, Japanese native Yasuyoshi Chiba studied photography and holography in Tokyo. He began his career at the Asahi Shimbun daily, before becoming a freelance photographer after moving to Kenya in 2007, where he worked for AFP during the post-election violence in the country. In 2011, he was hired by AFP and relocated to São Paulo, and then Rio in 2013. He has been posted in Nairobi since 2016. Chiba won the ‘World Press Photo of the Year 2020’ for his image of a man illuminated by the light of mobile phones, reciting a poem in the middle of a group of protesters demanding a civilian regime in Khartoum, in Sudan.
It has been the second year in a row that AFP's photographers are awarded with The Guardian "Agency Photographer of the Year".
In 2020, Hector Retamal was named for his impressive coverage of the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in Wuhan, China.