2010 Prince Claus Laureate Photographer Maya Goded (Mexico City, 1967) creates subtle images of hidden or shunned communities. Her first project, Tierra Negra (1994), is a collection of moments from her three-year sojourn with Mexicans of African descent, a group whose contribution to Mexican identity is seldom acknowledged. Goded was then drawn to investigate female sexuality, prostitution, tenderness and gender violence in a society that defines women’s roles strictly and maintains notions of womanhood wreathed in myths of purity, fragility and motherhood. Goded’s images are imbued with unusual intimacy and genuine presence that spring from mutual trust established over a long period of time. This bond is evident in the body language she captures, creating empathy in the viewer. She explores people living in harsh situations constructed around notions of power and control – both the strong, whose refusal to conform threatens established norms, and the vulnerable, whose lives are distorted by social prescription. Each image is accompanied by the name of the person portrayed and a few telling details that foster a sense of connection. Maya Goded is honoured for her profound and intimate photography, for challenging preconceptions and giving unique insight into little-known realities, and for celebrating otherness and human commonalities that transcend socially constructed barriers.