To document today’s water issues, we asked photographers from around the world to show us what the lack of safe drinking water means knowing the water cycle in its entirety includes all uses and users. On UN World Water Day, March 22, 2018, our distinguished panel of judges selected the final images which were unveiled at the United Nations in New York.

Exhibit Judges

Martin Schoeller

Martin Schoeller is an award-winning German portrait photographer renowned for extreme- close up portraits. Schoeller’s portraits emphasize, in equal measure, the facial features, both studied and unstudied, of his subjects - world leaders and indigenous groups, movie stars and the homeless, athletes and artists - leveling them in an inherently democratic fashion. Schoeller worked as an assistant to Annie Leibovitz from 1993 to 1996. He advanced as a freelance photographer, producing portraits of people he met on the street. His work gained recognition for its strong visual impact and since 1998, his work has appeared in Rolling Stone, National Geographic, TIME, GQ, Esquire, Entertainment Weekly, and The New York Times Magazine, among other publications. Schoeller joined Richard Avedon as a contributing portrait photographer at the New Yorker in 1999, where he continues to produce award-winning images. His portraits are exhibited and collected internationally, including in several solo exhibitions in Europe and the United States and are included in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. He studied at Lette Verein in Berlin and lives and works in New York City. For more information visit:

Kristen Ashburn

Kristen Ashburn is a documentary photographer who has received numerous honors including a nomination for the 28th Annual Emmy Awards (2007) for BLOODLINE, NPPA's Best of Photojournalism (2007, 2006, 2003), the John Faber Award from the Overseas Press Club of America (2006) and two World Press Photo prizes (2005, 2003). Ashburn was awarded the Getty Grant in 2006, Canon's Female Photojournalist Award in 2004, and the Marty Forscher Fellowship for Humanistic Photography in 2003. In 2004, she was recognized as one of Photo District News "30 under 30 photographers" and participated in the prestigious World Press Photo "Joop Swart" Master Class. In 2003 she was a speaker at the TED Conference. She began photographing the impact of HIV/AIDS in southern Africa in 2001 and released a book of this work in 2009 entitled I Am Because We Are with a forward by Madonna. Ashburn's work has also taken her to Iraq a year following the US-led invasion; Israel and the Palestinian Territories, Sri Lanka in the immediate aftermath of the tsunami, New Orleans after Katrina, Haiti after the quake and Russia to cover the spread of MDR-tuberculosis in the penal system. Her work has appeared in many publications including The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, US News & World Report, Life, Rolling Stones and The Telegraph Sunday Magazine among others.

Robert Clark

Robert Clark is a photographer based in New York City, working with the world's leading magazines, publishers and cutting edge advertising campaigns, as well as the author of four monographs: Evolution A Visual Record, Feathers Displays of Brilliant Plumage, First Down Houston A Year with the Houston Texans and Image America - the first photography book shot solely with a cellphone camera. Over the course of his 17-year career shooting for National Geographic, Clark has contributed more than 33 stories, including 10 covers for the magazine. He shot the first digital cover for National Geographic in 2003 and his story Was Darwin Wrong? garnered the Picture of the Year award from the National Press Photographers Association. His most critically acclaimed photographs are also his most tragic. Clark captured the second plane hitting the World Trade Center on September 11th at the moment of impact. His four picture series won first place for the World Press Awards for Spot News. Clark lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter, and is the owner of Ten Ton Studio in the Brooklyn Navy Yards. For more information visit:

Global Photography Exhibit Winners

"Water Reserve"

by Antonio Grambone
A young girl carries water from Lake Malawi to her home miles away.

"Water for All"

by Pavol Stranak
Pushkar Camel Fair where children share drinking water with livestock, putting them at risk of getting diarrhoeal disease. Diarrhoeal disease is a leading cause of child mortality and morbidity in the world, and mostly results from contaminated food and water sources.


by Lou Urlings
A young woman is filling up the water tank of her family in the mountains of eastern Turkey. In many parts of the world, the collection of water is a duty relegated to women and girls.

"Water Crisis"

by Mohammad Rakibul Hasan
Much of the flood damage caused by Cyclone Aila was to the water and sanitation systems on which Bangladeshi villagers depend. Floodwaters seeped into supplies used for drinking and washing, and latrines were washed away, allowing raw sewage to increase the threat to diseases such as cholera.

"Going for Water"

by Joxe Inazio Kuesta Garmendia
Boy fetching water in Ouémé lake in Dassa-Zoumé, Benin. In this town, children are responsible for fetching water in the lake which is shared with hippos.

"Water for Life"

by Avishek Das
Little children are taking on additional responsibilities in a remote village in West Bengal to support their family needs. Here, one little girl is carrying a water pot on her head after taking water from the local tube well, which is the only source of water in her village.

"Public Bathroom & Washroom"

by Marcel Rebro
Workers in Dhaka washing up after a long day removing coal from river boats.

"Queuing for Water"

by Joe B N Leung
Women wait in long lines for water in a village near the Changu Narayan Temple, north of Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu Valley.

"Water Carriers"

by Sayyed Nayyer Reza
Women fetch water in Thar Pakistan, miles from their home.

"Water Gives Life"

by F. Dilek Uyar
Rice is a water intense commodity as 70% of all freshwater is used for agriculture.

"Uisce Beatha (Water of Life)"

by Paddy Cross
Nature-based solutions have the potential to solve many of our water challenges. We need to do so much more with ‘green’ infrastructure and harmonize it with ‘grey’ infrastructure wherever possible.

"Solar de Uyuni"

by Margarita Chernilova
Water scarcity already affects every continent. Water use has been growing globally at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century, and an increasing number of regions are reaching the limit at which water services can be sustainably delivered, especially in arid regions.

"Stepwell Reflections"

by Susan Moss
Two lovely young ladies pose at the Stepwells Amer Fort out of Jaipur Rajasthan India.