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'Desperate Measures' takes top spot in Art of Building photography competition


5th February 2014

Kirsten Quist a student and amateur photographer from Canada has scooped this year’s Art of Building Photographer of the Year title.  Hundreds of people worldwide showed their support by voting for her photograph ‘Desperate Measures’, which revealed the use of child labour in India’s construction industry.

As well as the prestigious title Art of Building Photographer of the Year, Quist’s image has also earned her a cash prize of £3000.

Speaking about her award Kirsten said: “I am honored to be the winner of the 2013 Art of Building competition. I never imagined that I would win a photographic competition of this magnitude at such an early stage in my photography career. Although I am only 20, and I still have a lot to learn when it comes to photography, it's wonderful to be recognised for my work.” 

Thousands of votes were cast to determine the overall outcome, reflecting the continuing worldwide interest in the CIOB contest whose brief is to encourage people to explore and discover the ‘art’ of building as well as celebrate creativity in the construction industry. The fifteen finalists hailed from all over the world, including Indonesia, the Ukraine, Portugal; Canada, the UK and Hong Kong.

This year, the judging panel included broadcaster, photography critic and editor, Sue Steward; award-winning photographer Matt Wain, and Elaine Knutt editor of Construction Manager magazine.

“Kirsten’s photograph Desperate Measures makes for uncomfortable viewing and the truth it tells is inescapable.  It has a real photojournalism quality to it which voters were clearly moved by.  She is the first entrant to win both the overall Art of Building Photographer of the Year and Young Photographer of the Year titles,” said Matt Wain Art of Building judge.

Talking about her photograph Kirsten said: “Last spring after volunteering for two months with the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata, I traveled around India for a few weeks. I was saddened to witness the poverty and hardship that many Indian people endure. In particular, I was struck by the struggles of this young boy as he toiled to complete an adult’s work.

“Building is an endeavor which contains great potential for artistry, beauty, and creativity but unfortunately it can also be distorted and diminished by inhumane actions such as child labor. Thanks to those who were touched by the message in ‘Desperate Measures’ and to all those who voted for it.”



Saul Townsend
+44 (0) 1344 630 766

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