First Place

Living Lullabies

Hannah Reyes Morales


The song comes alive as night draws in. Hear it curl beneath the blanket, slip between the fold of cradling arms, in rooms across the world. To an audience of children, a hidden chorus of caregivers fills the night with song. They’re singing lullabies. We’ve been singing them for millennia. Etched with reed on a clay tablet is a Babylonian lullaby that’s more than 5000 years old. By the glow of a phone, or to the thrum of the city, lullabies still charm babies to sleep today. We inherit them, and we pass them on. We carry them across borders and we make new ones along the way. They contain the traces of those who came before us, and they will carry traces of us long after we’re gone. Within lullabies we’ve inscribed our greatest fears, and in the same breath, our prayers, our hopes, and our reassurances. ‘Living Lullabies’ illuminates critical issues facing women and children through the multidisciplinary storytelling of families’ night-time rituals. It explores how caregivers prepare children for sleep in environments fraught with risk, and the unique role of the lullaby as a vector for sense- and place- making. For families in different countries around the world – mothers protecting their children from toxic air in Mongolia, families in Turkey escaping conflict from Syria, teen mothers relying on their communities in Liberia, families grappling with the climate crisis in the Philippines, and essential workers isolating from their children in the USA amidst the COVID-19 pandemic – bedtime rituals are a way of making safety in rapidly changing environments. This project aims to demonstrate how issues at the top of global agendas – conflict, migration, public health, and climate change – affect and are reflected in the stories of bedtime for children around the world.

Hannah Reyes Morales is a photographer whose work documents tenderness amidst adversity. Her photography, both visceral and intimate, takes a look at how resilience is embodied in daily life. She grew up in a crowded Manila, witnessing loved ones depart from home each year. These departures, along with the discovery of a shelf of dusty photographic magazines stirred her interest in concerned photography. Through her photography she has reported on forced marriages in Cambodia, documented women’s experiences with assault in the ongoing conflict in South Sudan, and explored the long term effects of colonisation on women’s bodies in the Philippines. She has photographed the toll of Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, and documented the Filipino Diaspora and the effects of it on the island nation where she is from. She contributes work to The New York Times, The Washington Post, and National Geographic Magazine, among others. The World Economic Forum named her a cultural leader in their ASEAN forum. In 2019 she participated in the World Press Photo’s Joop Swart Masterclass and received the Tim Hetherington Visionary Award. She is a 2020 National Geographic Explorer. Hannah is currently working on longer term projects, focused on safe-space making and care giving.

[ CULTURAL PRACTICES ] A set of photographs that increases the understanding and appreciation of a cultural practice. It can be about festivals, religion, traditions, or contemporary cultural trends. Each submission consists of 5 to 20 images. Each participant is allowed to enter up to 2 submissions. The images must be taken in 2019 or 2020.

Judges for Cultural Practices
Anshika Varma
Jiro Ose
Suejin Shin
Khalil Hamra
Rena Effendi