For my series Backstage Heroes, I photographed 30 laureates of the Right Livelihood Award. The award was founded in 1980 by journalist and philatelist Jakob von Uexküll. He wanted to add two categories to the traditional Nobel prizes: one for ecology and one relevant to the lives of the poor. The proposal was turned down by the Nobel Prize Commitee, and the Right Livelihood Award has existed ever since as an independent commendation.
Known throughout the world as the "Alternative Nobel Prize" it honors people and organizations that have developed outstanding solutions to the most urgent problems of our times and who are fighting for their implementation. 149 persons and groups from 62 countries have so far been awarded the prize. Internationally, it is recognized as the preeminent distinction for courageous personal commitment and social change. The prize money is allocated for the ongoing successful work of the Laureates, not for personal use.
The Right Livelihood Award is presented annually at the beginning of December - shortly before the Nobel Prize - in the Swedish Parliament. It assists those who are honored in making their groundbreaking concepts known worldwide and in reaching a wider public with their pioneering ideas. It also offers the award-winners, who often work under the most difficult conditions in their home countries, vital protection against repression, violence, and imprisonment.
— Katharina Mouratidi
Further information on the Right Livelihood Award: www.rightlivelihood.org.
And for more information about these heroes and their stories, buy the book:
by Katharina Mouratidi
Publisher: Kehrer Verlag
With texts by Jacob von Uexküll
and Wendy Watriss