NPPA: The Voice of Visual Journalists

1st Place Feature/Multiple Picture: “A Changed Karim”
Cory Morse/Muskegon Chronicle
1 2 3 ... 12 >

1 of 12


Karim Ahmad, an 11-year-old Syrian boy who lives in Lebanon, suffers from Olmsted's syndrome - a rare incurable skin disease. He has lost all of his fingers and is in the process of losing his toes. In Lebanon, Karim lives in poverty, spending most of his time alone as his parents work to make ends meet. He was denied a Lebanese education because officials said he would traumatize the other children. In 2007, Liz and Joe Zagar, of Laketon Twp., Mich., learned of Karim through a priest's blog and brought him to the U.S. for four months to receive medical treatment. With his condition deteriorating in 2008, Liz Zagar returned to Lebanon and brought Karim back to the U.S. for one year. After one year of love, medical care and school, Karim returned home as a changed little boy.


Karim Ahmad and Liz Zagar wait to see Dr. A. James Potter for a check-up April 13, 2009, after having surgery to repair a hole in his eardrum. Liz takes Karim for regular visits to an occupational therapist, physical therapist and chiropractor. They also have periodical appointments to a pediatrician, dermatologist, podiatrist, dentist, and the otorhinolaryngologist. They have also traveled four times in the last three months to the University of Michigan, three hours away in Ann Arbor, for his prosthetics. "He often falls asleep in the car on the way to appointments and it is very hard getting him up in the morning," Liz said. "It is a grueling schedule."

Judges’ comments for the category

Second place used strong photography to give a thorough look at the life of a school. While each image is strong, at 21 pictures, this might have benefited from a tighter edit, keeping only the strongest images that advance the storyline. Third place made great use of limited access. the photographer was able to tell a story without showing faces of victims, but still bringing them to life with a surprising variety.

James Gregg Dean Knuth Kelly Presnell Ron Medvescek