Uwe H. Martin, Germany
Visual storyteller and multimedia producer Uwe Martin has worked on documentary projects around the world and is a member of the Bombay Flying Club, an award-winning multimedia agency. Since 2007 he has been working on "White Gold," a multimedia project looking at the global cotton industry, a distorted and highly subsidized market that has hurt or ruined the lives of farmers around the globe, from India to Africa to Central Asia and Texas.
While many people think of physical violence when considering human rights abuses, Martin wanted to look at other kinds of threats to rights, especially economic ones. Using his skills as a trained photographer and videographer, he spent weeks in locations around the world investigating how the economics of cotton production is driving farmers to suicide and turning idyllic farmland into deserts.
The winning entry "White Gold" ("Der Stoff, der über Leben entscheidet") was published as an iPad feature by the German magazine GEO and also in its print edition. The multimedia feature focuses on a material we wear against our skin, filter our coffee through, even weave into our currency. But cotton also causes widespread, and largely unknown, suffering. Billions of dollars in US subsidies give American cotton growers a false illusion of competitiveness while driving farmers in other parts of the world to despair. Martin wanted to use the medium of the tablet computer since it allowed him new forms to tell these moving stories.