Donetsk and Mariupol Photo Series Wins Grand Prix at 2023 Andrei Stenin Contest

The Andrei Stenin International Photo Contest announced its Grand Prix winner during an awards ceremony at the Rossiya Segodnya international press-center. Russian journalist Alexei Orlov and his black and white series Blaze received the top prize of the ninth edition of the contest.
Blaze is a report from Donetsk and Mariupol photographed less than a month after the launch of the special military operation. This is how the photographer describes his work in the zone of the special military operation in March 2022:
“Those days were probably the hardest in my life because I saw people who endured through those events in Donetsk and Mariupol. My goal was to show the place as one collective image of a city whose peaceful days had come to an end. The daily routines and fates of its residents changed their values. Many of those people lost their homes and even loved ones. Many lost everything but hope.”
Alexei says that competing in the Andrei Stenin Contest was an opportunity to showcase his photographs to the entire world.
“It is important to me as a documentary photographer. Of course, it is exciting because it is a major competition with many strong entries. This fact only drives me to give my very best,” he noted.
Along with the Grand Prix, the prizes won by all the shortlisted competitors were announced at the ceremony. The event at the Rossiya Segodnya international press-center launched an international tour of the winning works. In early 2024, the exhibition of selected works will be hosted by galleries in India and the UAE.
As part of the contest, one of its partners, the Al Mayadeen TV pan-Arabist media holding, established a special prize that was also presented at the awards ceremony. In Top News, Ayman Yaqoob from Bahrain won best single for Fireball documenting Yemen’s missile attack on the Saudi Aramco oil depot in Jeddah.
The jury did not award first prize to any series in this category. In My Planet, the most popular category among Stenin Contest participants, best single went to black and white The Dying Tradition Through Circle by Sayan Adhikary from Kolkata, who photographed fishers on the northern shore of India. Best series went to visually poignant series by Spanish documentary photographer Adra Pallón, Demothanasia (Demographic Euthanasia) about the exodus from the rural areas of Galicia, condoned by the officials of this Spanish province.
In Sports, first prizes for both best singles and best series were awarded to Russian photographers. Edgar Breshchanov won best single for his Fighting to the End. The photo captures a moment in a CSKA Moscow vs. Torpedo Moscow football game featuring CSKA junior club’s Yegor Noskov. The same photograph won the special prize from Al Mayadeen TV.

Best series went to Sergei Bobylev’s Energy of Victory that documented the most remarkable moments of the Russian Olympic team at the XXIV Olympic Games in Beijing.
Photojournalists from Russia and France won best single and best series in Portrait. A Hero of Our Time. Novosibirsk journalist Vladislav Nekrasov’s black and white photographic phantasmagoria Imago took best single. French reporter Lucie Hodiesne Darras took best series with her Lilou, an Inside View of Autism about her autistic brother Antoine.

The full list of 2023 winners is published on the Russian ( and English ( websites of the contest.

About the contest
The Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest, organized by Rossiya Segodnya under the patronage of the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO, aims to support young photographers and draw public attention to the challenges of photojournalism today. It is a platform for young photographers – talented and sensitive individuals open to all things new – to highlight people and events near us.
General media partners: VGTRK (National State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company) (Russia), SMOTRIM online-platform (Russia), Rossiya-Kultura TV channel (Russia),  Moskva-24 TV channel (Russia). 
International media partners: Sputnik news agency and radio (International), RT TV channel and website (International), Independent Media (South Africa). ANA (South Africa), Shanghai United Media Group (SUMG) (China), China Daily (China), The Paper (China), Al Mayadeen (Lebanon).   
Industry partners: Russian Union of Journalists (Russia), YOung JOurnalists (Russia),
Russian Photo (Russia), (Russia).