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Courtesy of 

Espen Rasmussen

Faces of Humanity Series

Espen Rasmussen

Highly Commended

Espen Rasmussen (b. 1976) is a Norwegian photographer and member of the VII Photo Agency. He works as a picture editor and producer in the Stories Hub in Norway's leading daily newspaper VG as well as working both on long-term assignments for the paper and his own projects as a photographer.

He focuses on topics related to humanitarian og social issues and challenges related to climate change. Some of Rasmussen's work includes his eight-year-long project Transit, about refugees and displacement all over the world, published by Dewi Lewis in 2011. The project White Rage, is about right-wing movements, Neo-nazism, and fascism in Europe, the US, and Hard.Land, a journey trough the U.S. Rust Belt, documenting the Blue Collar America in the years before the election of Trump.

He has won numerous awards for his work, including three in World Press Photo, several in the Picture of the Year International (POYi) and 45 in the Norwegian Picture of the Year.

Rasmussen is freelance lecturing photography at schools such as the Oslo University College and Bilder Nordic School of Photography. He is also frequently giving presentations at photo festivals and for a wide range of other audiences. For the last ten years, he has been one of three editors/mentors in the Norwegian Journal of Photography (NJP).

His work has been exhibited widely around the world and his work has appeared in magazines such as New York Times, Paris Match, Time, Newsweek and National Geographic.

The Escape Route of Death

The Mediterranean Ocean


The escape route across the Mediterranean from Libya is considered the deadliest in the world. In 2021, more than 110,000 refugees and migrants crossed the dangerous route in bad inflatable and wooden boats.

Over 1,500 are dead and missing. They dream of coming to Europe, away from abuse and captivity in Libya. Many of them try to cross a number of times, but in the attempts, they are stopped by the Libyan coast guard and sent back to Libya. Many end up in captivity in Libya, where they are subjected to torture, forced labor, and abuse, while others are kept in overcrowded reception centres.

The UN has stated that there are reasonable grounds to believe that war crimes have been committed in Libya, while violence perpetrated in prisons and against migrants may amount to crimes against humanity.

In the rescue zones in the Mediterranean, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) operates with the Norwegian ship "Geo Barents". They try to save as many as possible and bring them to a port of safety in Italy, where the refugees and migrants are given the opportunity to seek asylum.

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