Refugee crisis put in focus
Margaret River-based globetrotting photographer David Dare Parker has had a major win at the WA Media Awards.
The veteran freelancer, war photographer and former Walkley Award winner took out the Feature Photographic Essay for his work on the displaced Rohingya people, reported by the Times last year.
Dare Parker told the Times the win was a testament to the humanitarian crisis and he was glad his work kept it in the public eye.
The photographer was embedded with other media outlets and non-government agencies working the refugee crisis, triggered by conflict in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), and was one of the most harrowing jobs he had worked.
“To a person, we all understood how important it was to play some part in trying to keep this story in the news,” he said.
“I am a photographer. However, in some ways, this story is all about words. Testimony.
“Most of the survivors we met had told their stories before, to other media, and it was difficult to ask them to relive their horror again.
“The women had been through the worst of it.
“Their testimony of having their children killed in front of them. Gang rape. Throats cut, hacked with machetes — to be left for dead,” Dare Parker said. “But every person we met, that had a story to tell, wanted to tell it. Their stories were consistent. They want to be believed.
“They want the world to know what they have been through. They want justice.”
Dare Parker said it was hard to understand the hatred directed against the ethnic minority, most of whom were “simple villagers, not insurgents”.
The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance judges were unanimous in praising Dare Parker’s work as “world-class” and “a stand-out above all others”.
“A telling visual portrayal of the suffering of the Rohingya . . . and the aftermath of apparent attempted genocide,” the judges said.
The media award coincides with another important gong for the photographer, who also claimed first place for his photo Exodus, above, at the national Australian Photography Awards.
David Dare Parker’s prize-winning photograph Exodus featured Rohingya refugees crossing the Naf River into Bangladesh.
David Dare Parker in action.