Portrait | Nominee

Sandra Hoyn

Pinneberg / Germany www.sandrahoyn.de

The Longings of the Others


Bangladesh is one of the few predominantly Muslim countries where prostitution inside registered brothels is legal. The Kandapara brothel in the district of Tangail is the oldest and one of the largest in the country - it has existed for some 200 years. The brothel district is surrounded by a two-meter wall. In the narrow streets, there are food stalls, tea shops and street vendors. Here live and work more than 700 sex workers with their children and their madams. Their customers are policemen, politicians, factory workers, groups of teenage boys.

Many of the women were either trafficked or born inside the brothel's walls and secure in this way their livelihood. Officially, they must be 18 years old, but most of them are underage. Although prostitution is legal in Bangladesh since 2000, these women are socially stigmatized outside their homes and thus often choose to stay and continue supporting their families with their earnings.


Sandra Hoyn (b. 1976) is an independent photojournalist based in Hamburg, Germany. She studied photography at the University of Applied Sciences Hamburg, graduating in 2005. She started working for magazines, NGOs and on her personal photo projects, focusing on social, environmental and human rights issues. She worked in various countries in Asia, Africa and Europe. Her work has been published in „Die Zeit“, „Der Spiegel“, „stern“, „GEO“, „GEOlino“, „Cosmopolitan“, „The New York Times Lens Blog“ and „The Washington Post“ among others. Since 2007 she has been represented by laif, agency for photos and reports.

In 2016 she was selected as a winner at the Magnum Photography Awards in category photojournalism. 2016 she received Sony World Photography Awards 2nd prize in category daily life. In 2015, she received World Press 3rd prize, category nature singles and the Felix Schoeller Photo Award in category nature. In 2013, she received the Henri Nannen Award.