San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

FIRST PLACE Photo by Mónica Quesada I Tico Times

It’s a simple picture, but true to the aphorism it says a lot. Tico Times photographer Mónica Quesada snapped the winning photo last year while chronicling the eviction of a shantytown known as La Candela, which was behind the JuanSantamaríaAirport just outside of San José. The Tico Times published the photo along with an article about the eviction on May 12, 2006, and months later, while looking for photos to submit for the Mario Roa photographer prize, Quesada’s eye fell on this one. “I picked it because I liked it,” Quesada said. “I never thought it had a chance.” But it did have a chance: It won first place. The prize, awarded annually by the Costa Rican Journalists Association, comes with a check for $500 and a certificate. Named after photographer Mario Roa, the prize is typically awarded to a photograph of historical significance. In the case of Quesada’s photo, however, there is also a very human significance: What happened to the baby? After the government tore down the shantytown, its residents were offered only a bit of money from the Mixed Institute for Social Aid (IMAS) and had to find shelter elsewhere. The baby in the picture, Danyeli, is now three years old and lives with her four siblings and her parents in Santa Bárbara, north of San José.


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