Muhammed Muheisen, Chief photographer, Pakistan, won the $10,000 Oliver S. Gramling Journalism Award for his work capturing the loss and hope in Pakistan and conflict zones throughout the world.
Working slowly, with patience and empathy, he gains access other photographers don’t, earning the trust of his subjects in some of the poorest areas on earth. His pictures show a compassion and humanity that are so compelling that they sometimes prompt readers from across the globe to ask how they can help his subjects.
He spent six months capturing a series of portraits of Afghan children living in refugee camps in Pakistan that stirred extraordinary reader response. In them, the judges said, “He caught the hope, desperation and tragedy of the faces of the oppressed.”
Born in Jerusalem, Muheisen earned a degree in journalism and political science at Birzeit University. He joined AP in 2001, and has since covered major events in the Middle East, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as stories in Saudi Arabia, China, Afghanistan, Yemen, Egypt, Syria, France and South Africa.
Muheisen was twice part of AP photo teams that won a Pulitzer Prize, for covering the wars in Iraq and Syria. He has been honored with many other international awards, including being named Time magazine’s best wire photographer of 2013. His photos, Time said, “are indispensable for news outlets the world over.”
Click on any image to launch the Close Up: Muhammed Muheisen gallery.
Pakistani schoolgirls, who were displaced with their families from Pakistan’s tribal areas due to fighting between militants and the army, chant prayers during a class to pay tribute for five female teachers and two aid workers who were killed by gunmen on Tuesday, at a school in a slum on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013. Gunmen in northwest Pakistan killed five female teachers and two aid workers on Tuesday in an ambush on a van carrying workers home from their jobs at a community center, officials said. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
Pakistani girls react as they get caught in a sand storm, in a slum on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, May 25, 2011. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
A Palestinian boy reacts as youths frighten him by pointing their toy guns at him, in an alley in the West Bank refugee camp of Al-Amari in Ramallah, Tuesday, June. 16, 2009. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
In this Friday, Jan. 24, 2014, photo, Afghan refugee girl, laiba Hazrat, 6, poses for a picture, while playing with other children in a slum on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan. For more than three decades, Pakistan has been home to one of the world’s largest refugee communities: hundreds of thousands of Afghans who have fled the repeated wars and fighting their country has undergone.
Muslim pilgrims pray at Jabal Al Rahma holy mountain, the mountain of forgiveness, in Arafat outside Mecca, Saudi Arabia early Monday, Jan. 9, 2006. At least 2.5 million pilgrims attended the hajj. The hajj is required at least once in the lifetime of every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it. Muslims believe completing the hajj will erase their sins. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
South African mourners hold posters of former president Nelson Mandela, while chanting slogans as the convoy transporting the body of Nelson Mandela passes by, in Pretoria, South Africa, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013. Motorcycle-riding police officers escorted the casket Wednesday morning from 1 Military Hospital outside of Pretoria to the Union Buildings. Some Pretoria residents lined the streets to watch the procession go by, singing tributes to Mandela, who died Dec. 5 at age 95. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
Pakistani Mamouna Qamar, 4, center, looks on while holding her brothers hands, Shazaib, 6, right, and Zaman, 7, as they wait for their parent, unseen, crossing a street in a neighborhood in Islamabad, Pakistan, Friday, Dec. 24, 2010. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
An Iraqi man celebrates atop of a burning U.S. Army Humvee in the northern part of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, April 26, 2004. An explosion leveled a building in northern Baghdad on Monday, setting four U.S. Humvees nearby on fire. At least one U.S. soldier and several Iraqis were wounded. The cause of the explosion was not immediately known. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
An Afghan refugee girl stands next to her family’s sheep in a field next to a slum area on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
Abdullah Ahmed, 10, who suffered burns in a Syrian government airstrike and fled his home with his family, stands outside their tent at a camp for displaced Syrians in the village of Atmeh, Syria, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012. This tent camp sheltering some of the hundreds of thousands of Syrians uprooted by the country’s brutal civil war has lost the race against winter: the ground under white tents is soaked in mud, rain water seeps into thin mattresses and volunteer doctors routinely run out of medicine for coughing, runny-nosed children. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
A female anti-government protestor, center, wearing a red scarf, looks on while praying with other women during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa,Yemen, Wednesday, April 6, 2011. Defying a deadly government crackdown, tens of thousands of protesters have poured into the streets of a city in southern Yemen in ongoing protests against longtime president Ali Abdullah Saleh. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
Palestinian youths and children play during sunset in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2008. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
Pakistani acid attack survivor, Azim Mai, 35, holds her daughter Shaziya, 8, while sitting on a bed waiting to have a massage session for their wounds, at the Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) in Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011. Azim Mai’s husband allegedly threw acid in her face and their daughter Shaziya last year after she refused to sell their two boys to a man in Dubai to use as camel racers. Rights activists Tuesday praised the laws, which stiffened the punishment for acid attacks and also criminalized practices such as marrying off young girls to settle tribal disputes and preventing women from inheriting property. The Senate provided final approval for two bills containing the new laws Monday. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
An Egyptian protestor throws away a tear gas canister fired by security forces during clashes near the Interior Ministry in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Feb. 3, 2012. A volunteer doctor says police and protesters angry over a deadly soccer riot have clashed for the second day in the Egyptian capital, and that one man died in the latest violence. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
A Pakistani man looks on from inside his grocery store while waiting for customers in Islamabad, Pakistan, Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
Pakistani children, survey woods from a burning field, which was used by fruit and vegetable sellers to store their wooden boxes, on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Monday, Nov. 4, 2013. According to the crowds at the site, the Capital Development Authority burned the field because it was used by the sellers to store their wooden boxes illegally. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
Pakistani boy, Adil Shahid, 6, suffering from a fever, sleeps on the ground wrapped with a shawl, next to his mother Najma, 25, at the site of her work in a brick factory in Mandra, near Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Monday, March 3, 2014. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
Afghan boy Mahfouz Bahbah, 12, stands on a roadside hoping to sell his balloons during sunset in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
Pakistani women cook for their family using a fire inside their makeshift home, in a slum in Islamabad, Pakistan, Monday, March 4, 2013. Slums which are built on illegal lands have neither running water or sewage disposal. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
A Yemeni army officer, center, is kissed by an anti-government protestor during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa,Yemen, Friday, March 25, 2011. Facing growing calls for his resignation, Yemen’s longtime ruler told tens of thousands of supporters Friday that he’s ready to leave power but he doesn’t trust his opposition, whom he called “drug dealers. Ali Abdullah Saleh spoke in a rare appearance before a cheering crowd outside his presidential palace in the Yemeni capital Friday on a day of dueling demonstrations. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
An Afghan refugee child, chases bubbles released by other children, while playing on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. For more than three decades, Pakistan has been home to one of the world’s largest refugee communities: hundreds of thousands of Afghans who have fled the repeated wars and fighting in their country. Since the 2002 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan some 3.8 million Afghans have returned to their home country, according to the U.N.’s refugee agency, but thousands of others still live without electricity, running water and other basic services. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
Pakistanis working at a steel mill, from right, Nazir Hameed, 42, Khalil Zada, 24, Azeem Ibrahim, 31, chat with another worker, not pictured, during a break, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, May 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
An Afghan refugee girl, right, holding her younger brother, sits on a wooden-cart looking at her friend playing with a balloon, in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
South African mourners, wave and shout as the hearse carrying the body of former South African President Nelson Mandela passes by, in Pretoria, South Africa, Thursday Dec. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
Pakistani Dawlat Gul, 7, third left, enjoys playing on a swing along with other children on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Friday, July 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
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