Hannah Reyes Morales
To read this article in Filipino, see Hannah Reyes Morales
Hannah Reyes Morales is a Filipina photojournalist and National Geographic Explorer. Her works document tenderness amidst adversity and takes a look at how resilience is embodied in daily life. She is one of 2021’s Nobel Peace Prize Photographers.
Early Life and Education
Morales was raised in Manila with her mother and 12 relatives. While in high school, she tutored children in poor communities which gave her valuable experience. She studied at the University of the Philippines (UP). She took a photography subject there which led to an internship at the European Pressphoto Agency and furthered her exploration in photography. It was also in the university where she was introduced to photojournalism by one of her professors.
Morales has traveled through Asia to document the daily lives of individuals and families within struggling communities. From 2013 to 2016, she lived in Cambodia where she documented Cambodian bride trades and forced marriages.
In the Philippines, she documented significant events on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. She first documented the deaths that occurred regularly then shifted to the stories of the individuals and their families in the neighborhoods where the deaths took place.
Hannah was cited by the Nobel Peace Center for her notable documentation of the war on drugs. She is also a recipient of numerous awards and her works have been published on major international magazines such as the The Washington Post, The New York Times, National Geographic, Al Jazeera, The Southeast Asia Globe, Newsweek Japan, CNN Philippines, and The Atlantic.
She was also named a cultural leader by the World Economic Forum and gave a speech at its Asean Forum about the portrayal of women in media.
She is currently working on longer term projects focused on safe-space making and care giving.
On 11 December 2021, Morales and Russian photojournalist Nanna Heitmann will hold a photo exhibit to feature the work of laureates Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov in Oslo, Norway. The exhibit opens a day after the laureates are to receive their prizes in the same city. Maria Ressa is the first Nobel laureate from the Philippines.
Morales’ part of the exhibit will feature the glaring impact of social media on the everyday lives of the Filipinos. Ressa’s key advocacy is shedding light on disinformation spread through social media.
- Season of Darkness- features the horrific consequences of the Philippine government’s war on drugs. The photos challenge the dehumanizing language used by the state to legitimize widespread extrajudicial killings by showing the humanity of victims and their loved ones and wider communities.
- Roots from Ashes- aims to give voice to survivors of the brutal acts of violence in a small town north of Manila during World War II.
- Eagle Hunters- features the lives of young people growing up in the wild and expansive region of Altai Region in Mongolia.
- Shelter from the Storm- features women forced into the sex industry
Awards and Recognition
- 2021 Nobel Peace Prize Photographer
- 2021 POY Asia, First Place, Cultural Practices, Living Lullabies
- 2020 ICP Infinity Award for Documentary Practice and Visual Journalism
- 2019 Tim Hetherington Visionary Award
- 2019 National Geographic Grantee
- 2019 Joop Swart Masterclass Participant
- 2019 Royal Photographic Society Margaret Harker medal for 100 Photographic Heroines
- 2018 British Journal of Photography Ones to Watch
- 2018 PDN's 30
- 2018 IWMF Reporting Fellow
- 2018 6x6 Program, World Press Photo
- 2017 Chris Hondros Memorial Award (@ Eddie Adams)
- 2017 National Geographic Explorer Leadership and Development Program
- 2016 The GroundTruth Project Climate Change Reporting Fellow
- 2016 SOPA Award for Excellence in Digital Reporting, for Reporting on Human Trafficking at Sea, The Outlaw Ocean New York Times
- “About”. Hannah Reyes Morales. (Accessed on 1 December 2021).
- Layug, Margaret Claire.“Filipino photojournalist Hannah Reyes Morales ‘honored’ to do this year’s Nobel Peace Prize exhibition”. GMA News Online. (Accessed on 1 December 2021).
- “Filipina, Russian photojournalists to mount Nobel Peace Prize exhibition”. Rappler. (Accessed on 1 December 2021).
- “Hannah Reyes Morales”. Hundred Heroines. (Accessed on 1 December 2021).
- “Hannah Reyes Morales”. Gen T. (Accessed on 1 December 2021).
- “Talk: Hannah Reyes Morales (online)”. The Photographers’ Gallery. (Accessed on 1 December 2021).
- Estrin, James. "Finding Tenderness in Communities Affected by Manila's Anti-Drug War". The New York Times. (Accessed on 1 December 2021).