Cairo: Heba Khamis became the first Egyptian photojournalist to win the World Press Photo Award.
The 29-year-old woman was granted the award for “Banned Beauty;” a photo series highlighting the practice of breast ironing in Cameroon. Her story won first prize in the contemporary issues category.
Her photos shed light on the Cameroonian practice of flattening the breasts of girls, aged eight to 12, using heated objects, in the belief that it will stop them from maturing, deter rape and delay sexual encounter.
From Amsterdam, Khamis took to Instagram to share a picture of herself with one of her award-winning photos.
She expressed her gratitude for receiving it, and dedicated it to her father, whom she said had passed away last year.
“It’s a dream for many photographers all over the world, but unfortunately each story has a dark side, on the same day last year exactly six hours from now I lost my father...” Khamis said in her speech for the World Press Photo Award.
“While I was traveling, and my passport was in another embassy preparing for another trip, I missed my chance to say goodbye to my father, to say I forgive you, please forgive me.”
“We live so much in other people’s moments, that we sometimes miss our own ...” she said.
Khamis graduated with a bachelors in painting before opting to pursue a career in photojournalism. Her work concentrates on social issues that are often ignored.