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Pulitzer Center Update August 26, 2022

Pulitzer Center Reporting Fellow's Photography Selected for National Press Club Exhibit


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An in-depth, intimate, and realistic look into the lives of LGBTQ asylum-seekers in Greece and those...

One of the images appearing in the 2022 NPC photo exhibit. Arezou, an Iranian queer asylum seeker, created her fashion version of Safe Place International's T-shirt. Image by Valerie Pires. Greece, 2022.

Four photographs by 2021 Pulitzer Center Reporting Fellow Valerie Pires, taken for her upcoming project, Offtrack, have been selected for the National Press Club's 23rd Annual Members Photography Exhibit.

“I am thankful that those images were selected for the exhibition,” Pires told the Pulitzer Center. “With the support of the Pulitzer Center, I spent two months reporting in Greece, crafting a story about the challenges that LGBTQ asylum seekers, and the humanitarian workers helping them, face in Greece. The NPC exhibit helps amplify their voices.”

The photos will be displayed in the Digital Photo category both online and in person as part of the Press Club’s annual “celebration of visual storytelling.” The website will launch in September, and the gallery will be open for in-person viewing September 1-30 in the Club's main lobby on the 13th floor at 529 14th St. NW in Washington, D.C. The exhibit's gala reception and official opening will take place on September 7 at 6:30pm in the Club’s First Amendment Lounge. Registration is recommended.

This year’s exhibit will feature 211 digital images and print photos from 58 exhibitors—24 of them first-time participants. Pires, a first-time participant, was honored with the headlining image on the Club’s event announcement.

Pires is a New York City-based investigative journalist and documentary photographer. Her Pulitzer Center-supported multimedia project for LaGuardia Community College, Offtrack: The Long Road to a Second Chance for LGBTQ Refugees in Greece, documents the experiences of LGBTQ asylum seekers, which Pires calls “one of the most underreported stories within the broader refugee narrative.” The project also analyzes humanitarian organizations’ approaches to safety, integration, and relocation of refugees. 

“The individuals portrayed in these photos face daily battles against Greek and European governments as they claim their rightful place in the world—a world hopefully without violence, persecution, and discrimination,” Pires said. “On that day, a group of asylum seekers and humanitarian workers from Safe Place International, a humanitarian organization with a safe house and community center for LGBTQ refugees in Greece, set everything aside for a few hours and celebrated the freedom of queer identity and expression, and allowed me to capture the moment.”

In the project’s upcoming stories, the photos featured in the exhibit will be accompanied by further investigative reporting.

You can follow updates on Pires’ work on Instagram (@valpnyc) or Twitter (@valerie_pires). 

M. and A., both transgender asylum seekers, keep an eye on the mirror while makeup retouches are taking place. Image by Valerie Pires. Greece, 2022.
At Syntagma Square in Athens, where the pre-parade gathering happens, Josep (right), a gay asylum seeker from Iraq, and a group of Safe Place International staff and interns wait for the next speaker of the warm-up event. Image by Valerie Pires. Greece, 2022.
M., a Moroccan transgender asylum seeker (left), and R., a lesbian refugee from Cameroon (right), wait for the parade to begin at Syntagma Square. Image by Valerie Pires. Greece, 2022.


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