/ 2016 / Book / Documentary


  • Prize
    Gold in Book (Series Only)/Documentary
  • Photographer
    VALERIE LEONARD Born in 1961, French-American, Valerie Leonard has always been surrounded by a world of images. Her mother was a painter, and her father, photographer, Herman Leonard. When she presses the shutter, she remembers the doctrine of her father: "Always tell the Truth, but in terms of Beauty". Valerie Leonard strives for her work to embody to this search for truth and beauty of human beings, whatever their origin or wealth. Far from seeking aesthetic or false compassion, she wants to show the dignity of these women and men, in particularly hostile environments. Throughout her trips around the world she focused her work particularly on a theme that she named “Labours of Hercules”, where she attempts to show with utmost respect and admiration the nobility and courage of those living in difficult conditions.
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In Iran, men and women do not have the freedom they yearn for.
However, women are less free than men.
Compulsory veiling is one of the symbols of this lack of
Even if it is false to believe that the Revolution covered with veils
the women who had given it up, the bond to this dress code is
very heavy to many Iranian women.
By force, the veil came back into morals, and it is suffered as a
pressure which is not possible to avoid.
Western researchers consider the wearing of the veil in a certain
historic context and manage to justify this practice, assimilating
it to a shape of cultural diversity and this, without taking into
account occult realities of this compulsory practice and
especially at the expense of the Iranian women and without
having consulted them to know the degree of the unpopularity
of the Hijab for them.

French-American, Valerie Leonard travels the world following her theme that she named “Labours of Hercules" where she attempts to show with utmost respect the dignity of women and men living and working in particularly hostile environments.

She takes the time to live with the people and be fully accepted before starting her work.
There is no staging, with patience and respect, she waits for the right moment, the right light to tell the truth, but in terms of beauty.
Far from seeking aesthetic or false compassion she intends to change the way we see a forgotten humanity.

Awards 2018
1st Prize Zoom Photo Festival Saguenay. Canada.
Hon.Mention PX3 Paris/ Press/ Book Documentary
Hon.Mention PX3 Paris/ Press/ Feature Story
Silver Medal ND Awards/ Editorial Environment
Hon.Mention ND Awards/ General news
Winner Pollux Awards/ Documentary
Hon.Mention SDN
Hon.Mention IPA/ Environmental
Bronze star Award ND Awards/ People, Travel
2nd Prize APA Awards/ Documentary Editorial
Gold Medal Documentary Book Prix PX3 Paris
Nom. Fine Art Photography Awards/ Portrait, Travel, Animals, People
2nd Prize "The Other Hundred" Educator's edition
1st Prize Florida Museum Photographic Arts/ Nature, Animals
Honorable Mention IPA
Finalist 7th Julia Margaret Cameron Award 4 categories
Honorable Mention Fine Art Photography Awards
Remarkable Award Siena Photography Awards
Honorable Mention ND Awards 6 categories
Silver Star. ND Awards.
Shortlisted Sony World Photography Awards.
Honor. Mention IPA Category People Children
Finalist Travel Photographer go the Year.
Honor. Mention Best of Photography
Honor. Mention IPA Category One shot/one world.
Nominee Nature Images Awards
Nominee Oasis Photo Contest.
Honor. Mention. Winner of PX Paris.
Honor. Mention. Wildlife IPA .
Honor. Mention. People IPA
Bronze Medal. Art en Capital. Grand Palais. Paris
Photographer of the month National Geographic French website.
1st Prize National Geographic. France