A photographer from the al-Abbas's (p) Holy Shrine won three awards in the Andrei Stenin International Contest, and the Russian government hosts the child Qassem; the hero of his picture.

The Will to Live photo by Taisir Mahdi won first p
Taisir Mahdi Khudair Kazem was born in Iraq in 1985. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and English from the University of Baghdad Language College.

Taisir is a professional photographer interested in portrait photography and portraying people's lives and street life. He has worked for several news agencies and has participated in a number of exhibitions in Iraq and abroad. He has won several awards from the FIAP and the American Society for Photography (PSA). He has placed first in competitions in Spain, Saudi Arabia, China, UAE, Jordan, Austria, France, Serbia, Greece, Italy, Iran, Vienna and more. He has also received a certificate of appreciation from National Geographic Magazine.

Taisir is currently documenting the crisis in Iraq. He also recently traveled to several countries to document various cultures of the world to include in a huge book in the near future.

And recently in the Andrei Stenin International Contest in Russia, he won the first prize of the photojournalism in the category "Sports", in addition to three other important prizes in this contest."

Taisir Mahdi, is one of the photographers working in the Department of Islamic and Human Knowledge Affairs in the al-Abbas's (p) Holy Shrine. He stated to Al-Kafeel Network: "This contest was special because of the large number of participants who have high technical skills. The competition was between 6 thousands pictures of photographers from 77 countries. And all praise to God, I won three prizes; the first prize of the Andrei Stenin International contest for my picture "the desire for life" featuring an amputee kid playing football. Special prize by Al-Mayadeen TV; the media sponsor of the contest, giving this prize for the TV's slogan "With people everywhere". And special prize by Shanghai United Media Group (SMUG) in China."

He added: "The most important prize in my career is the invitation sent by the Russian government to the child Qassem "the hero of the picture", who lost one of his legs in a terrorist act of ISIL, and the picture shows him playing football with his peers."

He continued: "Today, we were able to convey a message to the world that Iraqis, despite the hard conditions, continue their love for life. And the officials, attendees and journalists largely discussed this matter and congratulated us for this message."

On the other hand, RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan on Friday promised to help an amputee boy featured in an award-wining photo by an Iraqi photojournalist to receive a prosthetic leg.

"We will find him and bring him to the country [Russia] and show him around and take him to a cool football game. We will try to help him with his prosthetic treatment by our doctors," Simonyan said on social media.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova suggested at the award ceremony in Moscow that Mahdi find the boy so that he could be flown to the Russian capital. Dmitry Kiselev, the director general of Rossiya Segodnya news agency, the organizer of the Stenin Photo Contest, said he would assist in the effort.

The photo contest is held under the aegis of the Russian Commission for UNESCO to support young photographers and draw public attention to the challenges of modern photojournalism. This year’s jury consisted of the world’s leading news agencies, including AFP and Anadolu, and world-class photographers and editors.
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