Alfred Fried Award Winner 2014

The Alfred Fried Award prize amount was just increased to 10,000 euros, and the contest’s deadline was extended to May 24, 2015. Kailash Satyarthi, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, will give the Keynote Speech at the award ceremony.

Gerd Ludwig will be serving on the Jury for the Alfred Fried Photography Award for the second year in a row. The Fried Award is given annually by The Photographische Gesellschaft (PHG) in Austria and Edition Lammerhuber in partnership with UNESCO, the Austrian Parliament, the Austrian Parliamentary Reporting Association and the International Press Institute (IPI). The award recognizes the world’s best photograph on the theme of peace.

Submission for the award is free of charge. In addition to the award of 10,000 euros, the winning photograph will be displayed at the Austrian Parliament building for a year and will then be added to the permanent collection of the Parliament. The Alfred Fried Award Ceremony takes place this year on September 17, just before the UN International Peace Day.

For more information on the award and submission process, visit

Above: Photographer Emil Gataullin was the 2014 Alfred Fried Award winner for his work “Towards the Horizon.”


PDN (Photo District News) is the most important publication for professional photographers in the US, with a monthly reach of over 500,000 in print & online. PDN is the recipient of two Lucie Awards and the seven-time winner of the Neal Award for Editorial Excellence from American Business Media. Each year, in their PDN Annual competition, a panel of renowned judges from all disciplines of photography select the best works in 7 professional categories.

It was just announced that Gerd Ludwig’s book, “The Long Shadow of Chernobyl,” with an essay by Mikhail Gorbachev, published by Edition Lammerhuber, was named one of the best photo books of the year in the PDN Annual.

For more information:

To purchase signed copies of the book:

The Long Shadow of Chernobyl

The Long Shadow of Chernobyl continues to receive acclaim worldwide. First the German-language edition, then the international editions of VICE published an interview with Gerd online, coinciding with the 29th anniversary of the disaster. LensCulture featured an in-depth review of the book as well.

The book has also been honored with three additional awards. It received the Silver Cube for Photography/Book from the Global Art Director’s Club, the Federation of European Photographers named it the Documentary Photo Book of the Year, and the One Eyeland Awards gave it a silver medal.

VICE (English):

VICE (German):


Art Director’s Club:

Federation of European Photographers:

One Eyeland:

The Art of Storytelling - Salton Sea

The Art of Storytelling – The Salton Sea

A 5 ½ day Documentary Photography Workshop with Gerd Ludwig
Los Angeles & Salton Sea, May 28 – June 2, 2015


This 5 ½ day workshop by National Geographic Photographer Gerd Ludwig is for photographers and committed amateurs who want to take their photography to the next level. It concentrates on the aesthetic, technical, and logistical aspects of photographing with personal vision and balanced objectivity. It is designed to help photographers develop a personal eye and to leave feeling inspired.

Participants will meet at Gerd’s unique home in the Hollywood Hills for 1 ½ days of portfolio reviews, instruction and theory, before shooting for 3 days at California’s Salton Sea. A day in LA filled with editing and sequencing, followed by a joint presentation of the final results, concludes the workshop.

For more information:

Berlin in National Geographic Germany

National Geographic Magazine published a timely story in its March 2015 issue examining two world capitals cast into opposing roles by the euro crisis: Athens and Berlin. It is a thoughtful evaluation of the two cities, which “were forced into a relationship neither wanted – northern lender, southern borrower. Now they’re emblems of a divided Europe longing for unity” as author Adam Nicolson puts it.

The story is accompanied by Gerd Ludwig’s photographs of Berlin which show the German capital as a youthful, vibrant and multicultural city influenced by its rough past, embracing a bright present and hoping for a safe future. Magnum photographer Alex Majoli captured Athens.

To see the story online:

To read an earlier piece on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall:

Pripyat, Ukraine

Gerd Ludwig’s trilingual photo book, The Long Shadow of Chernobyl, published by Edition Lammerhuber, was just named Photo Book of the Year by Pictures of the Year International (POYi).

Pictures of the Year International (POYi) is the oldest and most prestigious photojournalism program in the world. POYi’s mission is to honor and promote the work of documentary photographers, magazine, newspaper, and freelance photojournalists. POYi’s worldwide competition sets the gold standard for excellence in documentary photography, photojournalism, visual editing, and online multimedia. Each year, more than 48,000 works are submitted to the contest by photojournalists from over 70 nations, who document the news events, social issues, and cultural trends.

Gerd’s captivating images of his nine visits to Chernobyl in 20 years tell tragic stories of the lives of the victims, the Exclusion Zone and the abandoned city of Pripyat – and he ventured deeper into the belly of the beast than any Western still photographer, repeatedly documenting the destroyed reactor #4, which will soon disappear under a New Safe Confinement.

An essay by Mikhail Gorbachev, the last head of state of the Soviet Union, accompanies Gerd’s emotional visual narrative. This book is an important body of documentary work in view of the ongoing nuclear disaster in Fukushima 25 years later.

For info on POYi and to see the Winner’s Gallery:

For more information on Gerd’s work in Chernobyl:

To purchase a signed copy of The Long Shadow of Chernobyl:


After shooting for National Geographic for over 25 years, it was a given that Gerd Ludwig became one of the first members of The Photo Society (TPS), a collective of contributing National Geographic photographers. TPS has enjoyed tremendous success on their Instagram account, recently reaching the milestone of 1 million followers. To celebrate, this month’s Instagram contest is bigger than ever. It will be judged by John Stanmeyer, and the winner will receive a gift card to Adorama and their image posted on the TPS feed. For more information, follow @thephotosociety on Instagram for the rules and entry instructions.


Gerd Ludwig will present his lecture “Winds of Change” during the Exposure Festival in Calgary on February 26. Gerd will share images from his life in photography, concentrating on his experiences capturing the colossal changes following the dissolution of the Soviet Union to this very day. Resonating with a full scale of emotion, his images have garnered his distinction as the world’s foremost color photographer documenting the region. From the broken empire’s legacy of environmental exploitation, to the warp-speed economic transformation of Russia, Gerd Ludwig reveals a many-faceted people, by turns suspicious and sympathetic, greedy and generous, stoic and exuberant.

The presentation will span from early work in his native Germany, his stories published in National Geographic since the 1990s, up to recent stories in Kazakhstan, the Ukraine, and Germany. After first photographing the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster for National Geographic in 1993, he returned several times since. Recently he ventured deeper into the failed reactor than ever before and returned with haunting images, which will be part of his presentation and a recently published monograph The Long Shadow of Chernobyl.

To register for the lecture, visit


The Long Shadow of Chernobyl was selected as one of four books published by ASMP Members for inclusion in their 2014 Year-End edition of the ASMP Bulletin.

To see the article in the ASMP Bulletin, see:

Gerd Ludwig on German Greenpeace Podcast

The German-language Greenpeace podcast recently posted a 20-minute radio interview with Gerd Ludwig about Chernobyl, his book, and iPad app, which was aired on several radio stations in and around Berlin.

To listen to the interview:


Gerd Ludwig in MANUAL Magazine

The German men’s magazine MANUAL, in its recent issue #3, published an in-depth interview with Gerd Ludwig, covering his work in Chernobyl, his trilingual book The Long Shadow of Chernobyl, and the accompanying iPad App. The interview explores Gerd’s motivation behind the decision to put himself in danger in order to photograph Chernobyl.

To read the full article, see MANUAL Ausgabe 3 (published by Gruner + Jahr), on German newsstands now.


Gerd Ludwig’s lecture at this year’s PDN PhotoPlus Expo, “Digital Vision in Low Light” (sponsored by Canon), was selected as one of four lectures to be recapped in PDN. To read the entire article, check out the January 2015 print edition of PDN.

Berlin in National Geographic Germany
November 9, 2014 marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. In these 25 years, Berlin has experienced a substantial metamorphosis. No Western metropolis has undergone the same extensive and fundamental changes as Berlin. Even as the recent growth into a booming capital of the reunited Germany nears completion, the marks and scars of history are omnipresent. Gerd’s story in the November issue of National Geographic Germany (text by Adam Nicolson) investigates why the thriving capital is so attractive to young people around the globe.

To see the full story:

The Art of Storytelling - Documentary Photography Workshop in Los Angeles

The Art of Storytelling

A 4 1/2 day Documentary Photography Workshop with Gerd Ludwig
In Los Angeles, October 23-27, 2014

This 4 1/2 day workshop by National Geographic Photographer Gerd Ludwig is for photographers and serious amateurs who want to take their photography to the next level. It concentrates on the aesthetic, technical, and logistical aspects of photographing with personal vision and balanced objectivity. It is designed to help photographers develop a personal eye, and to leave feeling inspired.


Each participant should photograph a subject idea with the goal of producing a set of images by the end of the workshop. After individual portfolio reviews, Gerd will provide guidance to help streamline each idea, provide research tips, and create a coverage plan.

Throughout the workshop critiques will take place, both in groups and individually. In meetings with the students, Gerd will be available for advice on personal photographic aspirations. The course will culminate with each photographer presenting his or her photographs to the class for feedback.

The workshop will be held in Gerd Ludwig’s spacious and unique home in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles (The workshop fee includes a light lunch salad). Also, expect one of Gerd’s fellow photographers to stop by for a brief guest presentation.

Students must provide their own photographic equipment, laptops, and transportation.
Be prepared for long hours of shooting, editing, critiquing and interacting with one another and with the instructor (don’t worry, you will have fun too).

To make it more affordable for participants based outside of LA, there will be two rooms available in Gerd’s home for the first two students to request it, for an additional $200 for 5 nights.

Participants will also receive a 25% discount on one item purchased from following the workshop.


Gerd will stress finding and researching subjects, photographing people in an intimate fashion, making photographs that communicate emotionally as well as editorially, and using aesthetics in a sophisticated manner. Workshop participants will be encouraged to take professional risks to produce top quality work worthy of publications, books or galleries. Gerd will outline the structural elements and differences between a reportage, series, and essay and openly share the personal approaches he uses to create his own stories
for National Geographic Magazine.

Technical discussions will focus on how to use photographic tools in real-world scenarios to capture atmosphere and mood, while maintaining a sense of place; approach subjects and establish trust in order to photograph people in an intimate fashion; use form, lighting, and color in a sophisticated manner to communicate emotionally as well as editorially; balance a personal point of view while respecting a subject’s situation; and use focused editing to reveal a story’s essential truth. Gerd will share his own photographic techniques, such as his choice of cameras, lenses, lighting, strobes, and filters. He will explain how capturing quality images at extremely high ISOs has enabled him to tackle stories for National Geographic Magazine that previously were impossible to explore (Moscow Never Sleeps, Chernobyl, Russian Orthodox Church, Sleeping Cars etc).

Gerd will address the changing market for photographers, and how to expand short assignments into long-term personal projects using the latest fund-raising, distribution, and marketing methods. As a pioneer in crowdfunding, Gerd successfully financed his latest trip to the Chernobyl zone via Kickstarter and ran a second successful Kickstarter campaign to publish his 20-year retrospective book “The Long Shadow of Chernobyl,” which accompanies his interactive multimedia iPad app.


To sign up, please send your deposit of $175 through Paypal to [email protected] . Please contact us if you have any questions about using PayPal. A second payment of $400 is due by October 1st and the final balance of $400 is due by October 15th. Workshop is limited to 9 students.

Pay through PayPal

All payments are non-refundable. If a participant cancels, the first two payments will become a credit towards future workshops.


Born in Alsfeld, Germany, Gerd Ludwig studied Photography with Professor Otto Steinert at the Folkwang University of the Arts (Folkwangschule) in Essen, Germany, and graduated in 1972. The following year he co-founded VISUM, Germany’s first photographer-owned agency, and began working for publications such as Geo, Stern, Spiegel, Fortune, Time, and Life. In 1984 he re-located to New York, and after continuing to photograph for major international publications, signed on as a contract photographer for National Geographic Magazine in the early 1990’s. His focus on environmental issues, and on the socio-economic changes following the dissolution of the Soviet Bloc resulted in his book and exhibit, Broken Empire: After the Fall of the USSR, a ten-year retrospective published by National Geographic,. His ongoing coverage of post Soviet Russia has garnered his distinction as being the world’s foremost color photographer documenting the region. His ongoing work after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster resulted in the publication of an acclaimed iPad App and the trilingual Long Shadow of Chernobyl photo book.

Now based in Los Angeles, Gerd Ludwig continues his work for National Geographic Magazine, photographs personal projects, lectures at universities, teaches photographic workshops and exhibits his photographs in galleries and museums around the world. He is the recipient of many photographic awards, including the 2006 Lucie Award for International Photographer of the Year and the 2014 Dr. Erich-Salomon Award, the highest lifetime achievement award in photojournalism in Germany.


“It was an incredible opportunity for me to learn from National Geographic photographer Gerd Ludwig. With his personal instruction he taught me to see the emotional side of a photo, taking my passion for photography to a new level. His vision opened my eyes to a different perspective of the world.”
– Steffi Graff, tennis champion

“Of all the workshops I’ve taken, the one that made the biggest impact on me was a two day workshop with Gerd at the Salton Sea. I’ll never forget being dropped off by myself in Niland with only 45 minutes to take an environmental portrait of a total stranger in their home. I had never done anything like that before; but, Gerd had taken the time to share his own stories and offer advice about approaching sensitive situations as a photographer. I ended up meeting and photographing a wonderful family. He pushed each student beyond their comfort zones as photographers. It was an invaluable lesson.”
– Robert Larson, photographer

“During Gerd’s workshop at the Salton Sea, he pushed us to try new techniques, such as using remote flashes and gels, in order to help us get a feel for what the equipment was capable of, and how to use it to get interesting shots that would have been impossible any other way. He helped us see things we had missed, or better ways to approach the scene – encouraging us to get closer and see in different ways. At one point, I found myself standing ankle-deep in dead fish and algae, fighting to keep up with him as we tried to find the best shot – flash in one hand, camera in the other, and toes crossed that I’d be able to avoid tumbling headlong into a pile of rotting muck – while he helped me figure out how to set up shots in ways I had never considered, and how to wield the equipment in ways that proffered uncharted results. I have never learned as much, or had quite so much fun, as I did those days out in the desert with Gerd and his team.”
– Kristen Spillane, photographer

“Organizing ten years’ worth of materials for a long-term project, Gerd helped me make better choices in the edit and achieve more clarity in the book design. I appreciate his rigor and candor, while helping ensure that my photos found their best presentation. It’s rare to find a teacher who balances trenchant criticism with unwavering support for your work and your vision. Gerd is a great critic and advocate.”
– Preston Merchant, Adjunct Professor, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

Digital Vision in Low Light, Lecture at PDN PhotoPlus Expo

Capturing quality images at extremely high ISO’s is one of digital technology’s most important advances—particularly in the areas of photojournalism and documentary photography. In this seminar, Gerd Ludwig will discuss how these developments provide huge advantages in low light situations and offer greater physical mobility during difficult assignments. Ludwig will show how extremely high ISO digital capture has made handheld strobes a more powerful tool and will share his use of natural light combined with hand-held flash to emphasize his message, offer a sense of place, maintain atmosphere and create a personal vision.

Ludwig’s stories for National Geographic exemplify his use of “digital vision” to cover subjects that are impossible to explore otherwise. He will also cover how a story idea moves from proposal to published article and how to expand an editorial assignment into a long-term personal project. Finally, Ludwig will share his secrets to surviving in today’s marketplace, using crowd-funding, social networking and new media to get personal projects financed and seen by a wider audience.

Sponsored by Canon USA, the 2-hour seminar takes place at the Jacob Javits Convention Center on Friday, October 31st from 10:15am-12:15pm.

For more information about the PhotoPlus Expo:

PDN PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo is the most important event in the photo industry. Designed for professionals and advanced amateurs in the photographic and imaging industries, PDN PhotoPlus Expo showcases the latest advances in photography. Attendees are able to explore exhibits and attend a wide variety of photography and imaging seminars.

Gerd Ludwig will present his photographs and speak about his work documenting the aftermath of the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl on September 25, 2014 at Bücherbogen in Berlin, beginning at 7:30 pm. The event will include a book signing for his recently released book “The Long Shadow of Chernobyl.”

Full information & description below.

Seit 20 Jahren dokumentiert der renommierte National Geographic-Fotograf Gerd Ludwig die Folgen der Nuklearkatastrophe in Tschernobyl. Im Bücherbogen spricht er über sein Projekt und zeigt die ergreifenden Fotos, die er während seiner neun Besuche in Tschernobyl aufgenommen hat.

Sie erzählen die tragischen Geschichten der Leben der Opfer, der Sperrzone und der verlassenen Stadt Prypjat. Ausserdem hat Ludwig sich weiter ins Innere des zerstörten Reaktors #4 gewagt als jeder andere Fotograf aus dem Westen. „Als engagierte Fotografen“, sagt Ludwig, „berichten wir oft über menschliche Tragödien im Angesicht von Katastrophen und nehmen unsere Kameras mit in unerforschte Gebiete mit dem Bewusstsein, dass wir diese Erkundungen nicht ohne ein persönliches Risiko unternehmen. Wir tun dies aus einer tiefen Verpflichtung den Opfern gegenüber, um ihnen mit unseren Geschichten eine Stimme zu geben.”

Donnerstag, 25. September, 2014
Beginn 19:30 Uhr
Buchsignierung gegen 20:30 Uhr

Bücherbogen am Savignyplatz
Stadtbahnbogen 593
10623 Berlin
Telefon 030 31 86 95 11


After the publication of his 20-year retrospective “The Long Shadow of Chernobyl” Gerd Ludwig continues to explore the aftermath of the world’s worst nuclear disaster to date. In a story titled “THE NUCLEAR TOURIST,” the October issue of National Geographic Magazine USA and several of the foreign language editions of NG published Gerd’s images of tourism in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (text by George Johnson).
For more information and to see the images: Click here

In addition, the German language edition of National Geographic ran a 2-page interview with Gerd about the power of photography and what makes working for National Geographic special.
To read the interview: Click here

To order a signed copy of the book: Click here

View more images from the story:

Erich Salomon Award Ceremony, Lectures, and Chernobyl Exhibition at Photokina

At this year’s Photokina in Cologne, Germany, Gerd Ludwig will be honored with the Dr. Erich-Salomon Award, the highest lifetime achievement award in photojournalism given in Germany by the DPGh (the Germany Photographic Society, see more info here). At the award ceremony, Peter-Matthias Gaede, the former editor of German GEO Magazine will give the laudatory speech about Gerd’s work. The award ceremony will take place in the Leica Hall, which will also be home to an exhibition of Gerd Ludwig’s The Long Shadow of Chernobyl 20-year retrospective.

Additionally, Gerd will participate in a panel discussion with the new editor of National Geographic Germany, Florian Gless, plus multiple lectures are planned. Please check back shortly for exact dates and times.


Gerd Ludwig will be on the 2014 Jury for the Alfred Fried Photography Award. The Fried Award is given annually by The Photographische Gesellschaft (PHG) in Austria and Edition Lammerhuber in partnership with UNESCO, the Austrian Parliament, the Austrian Parliamentary Reporting Association and the the International Press Institute (IPI). The award recognizes the world’s best photograph on the theme of peace.

Submission for the award is free of charge and the winner will receive a prize of 5,000 euros. The submission deadline is September 5, and the award will be presented on September 21, the UN International Peace Day.

For more information on the award and submission process, visit

Above: Photographer Henning Bode was the 2013 Alfred Fried Award winner for his project “Gottfried.”

Presentation at the Lumix Festival in Hanover

The Lumix Festival for Young Photojournalism in Hanover, Germany is the largest festival for emerging photojournalists in Germany. This year, Gerd Ludwig shared his experiences as a photographer for National Geographic Magazine for over 25 years during a lecture presentation on Saturday, June 21st.

For more information please visit the Lumix Festival online.