Andrei Stenin photo contest

Print edition : February 02, 2018

A little over three years ago, in August 2014, the Russian news agency Rossiya Segodnya’s photojournalist Andrei Stenin was killed in Donbass, Ukraine, while on duty. He would have turned 37 in 2017. Stenin was famous for his photographs from Syria, Gaza, Egypt, Libya, Turkey and south-eastern Ukraine.

In December 2014, the agency established the Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest under the patronage of the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO. On December 22, 2017, the birth anniversary of Stenin, entries were invited for the 2018 contest. Participants aged 18 to 33 can submit their entries at The last date for submission of entries is February 28.

Contestants can compete in four categories—Top News, Sport, My Planet, and Portrait: A Hero of Our Time. The 2018 prize money is almost double that of the previous year; the first, second and third place winners will be awarded 100,000 roubles, 75,000 roubles and 50,000 roubles respectively. The Grand Prix winner will receive 700,000 roubles. The young photojournalists also have the opportunity to showcase their work at Russian and international exhibition venues during the winners’ international tour, an integral part of the contest.

Elena Anosova of Russia, winner of the 2015 Grand Prix, has been a photographer for about three years. An economist, she has also graduated from the Rodchenko Art School. She is interested in themes such as isolation and identity of small communities, in particular, collective memory in Siberia and the Far East. Elena Anosova learned about the contest from her friends, and sent her Dissociation series about prison colonies for women in Siberia to the contest.

“I was surprised when I made it to the finals, and even more so when I won it. Dissociation is a study of deformations; I worked with it for more than a year and took pictures at several Siberian women’s colonies for two and a half months,” she says.

The participation in the contest made it possible for her to continue working on her projects about the Far North. In 2017, she won the World Press Photo award.

Matic Zorman of Slovenia won the Jury Honorable Mention in the Top News category for his series in 2015 and 2016. The first series is dedicated to the conflict in Gaza and the second to refugees migrating across the Balkans.

He completed a course at the Multimedia Academy in Ljubljana. He says he does not know enough theory, although he has a real-life school “on the ground” taking pictures for newspapers and magazines and watching how his colleagues work.

The young photographer says the story of Andrei Stenin inspired him to take part in the contest. “He is exactly what I wanted to be when I was a teenager and dreamt about a heroic and brave military photographer, whose job is to change the world for the better, and I am sure that Andrei believed in this,” Zorman says.

In 2016, he was nominated for the World Press Photo Contest, and the next year he won the Lens Culture Exposure Award.

Alessandro Rota of Italy was the winner of the 2016 Jury Honorable Mention for the series covering the war in South Sudan. In 2017, he took part in the Andrei Stenin contest once again, with photographs taken in Iraq. This project took two years, and Rota is content with the result.

“I think the jury singled out my photos because they are dedicated to the war against the most powerful terrorist organisation today. For me, this award is a great honour; people from various countries have seen my works thanks to the contest,” Rota says.

Anna Mikhailova, RIA Novosti

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