Moscow, Oct 18 – RIA Novosti. The Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest has announced the winner of the Grand Prix. In 2021, two pieces at once won the main prize of the contest: М+Т, a photo series by Mary Gelman, photographer from St. Petersburg, and Turkish reporter Sebnem Coskun’s single photo “New danger to life below water: COVID-19 waste”.
The announcement of the Grand Prix and prizes for the shortlist participants took place as part of an online ceremony in the Rossiya Segodnya Multimedia Press Center, the organizer of the competition.
Speaking of the contest results in 2021, Rossiya Segodnya Director General Dmitry Kiselev said:
“Photography is the most sincere, conservative art form of our time. To photograph war or civil conflict, you need to get close to the protagonist. This is how Andrei Stenin found himself in almost every hotspot in the world.”
Both pieces chosen for the Grand Prix are profound and strong stories told with the language of photography.
М+Т is a touching story about love between an elderly couple with Down syndrome living in the Svetlana social village, where people with different mental and physical developmental disabilities can live freely together with educators and volunteers. Love has no boundaries is the main idea of the series, on which Mary Gelman worked in the Leningrad Region for more than a year. Speaking about her participation in the contest, the photographer emphasized:
“For me, taking part in the Stenin Contest means an opportunity to draw the attention of the public to the social theme in my research and share my vision; it means an opportunity for a dialogue. Every year I send my works to this contest with the professional international jury, because it is an excellent platform for speech, notable financial support for young photographers and high-quality approach to exhibiting the winners.”
The 2021 Grand Prix was also won by the single photo by Turkish journalist Sebnem Coskun, in which freediver Şahika Ercümen, a participant in the UN Underwater Development Program, dives into the Bosphorus. Describing her work, Sebnem stressed she wanted to make the shooting special. She says:
“It was my goal to express my opinion and point out the problem. For many years I have been working on marine pollution with plastic waste and microplastics. Even before the pandemic, we could not cope with the huge volume of plastic in our ecosystem, and it has only existed for 60 or 70 years. The photo was taken in the Bosphorus. I was going to look for trash during the dive. But there was no need to look for: it was everywhere.”
Winners of the 2021 contest have also been announced at the online ceremony. Describing the winning works, jury member Ruth Eichhorn (Germany), independent curator and photo editor, former photo director at GEO Germany, says:
“For many reasons, 2020 was a really unique year in history. Most photographers couldn’t travel and therefore were unable to complete or even begin their projects and assignments. So my expectations were lower than usual. Nevertheless, the very first photographs charged me with enthusiasm. Storytelling will always be relevant. It can change and develop, but it will never die. Every generation has something to say. Photography is a universal language of our time that requires no translation.” Ruth also noted that “the chosen works do not just review global events. They are a photo journey, a visual puzzle paying tribute to photographers and their point of view.”
The first place in the Top News category was won by the poignant visual epitaph to all victims of the coronavirus pandemic by Indonesian photojournalist Joshua Irwandi, The human cost of COVID-19, and the story of Indian photographer Chandan Khanna, Dissent, about protests in Minneapolis, US, in the spring and summer of 2020.
The intricate photographic pattern from the 2020 Vasaloppet China cross-county ski race by photojournalist Chang Xu was the best single photo in the My Planet category. In the series, the victory was given to the documentary chronicle of an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe of the last 25 years, Locust invasion in East Africa by Spaniard Luis Tato, many-time winner of the Stenin Contest in various years, including the 2020 Grand Prix.
In the sports category, Parkour on rubble by Syrian reporter Mouneb Taim was the best single photo. The winner in the series was the story by Russian photographer Darya Isayeva, Home Olympics: a remote photo session with athletes who did not stop to train for the Olympics while staying at home during the lockdown last summer.
The first places in the Portrait. A Hero of Our Time category were given to photojournalists from Russia and India. Sergei Bobylyov’s photo Faces of the time came first in the single photo category: a token of endless respect to doctors saving people during the coronavirus pandemic. The best story in series was the black-and-white photo essay by an independent photographer from India Sharafat Ali, Kashmir: A disputed legacy.
The full list of the 2021 contest winners can be found at stenincontest.ru/stenincontest.com. Chosen works by the winners can also be seen on Gogolevsky Boulevard in Moscow in the format of a street exhibition in the first two weeks of October.
Per tradition, special prizes for participants were established as part of the contest. This year, works in three categories were singled out: Top News, My Planet and Portrait. A Hero of Our Time. Leading international media such as the Shanghai United Media Group and the pan-Arab media holding Al Mayadeen TV as well as one of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, are these categories’ partners.
According to the partners, the best photos are: Joshua Irwandi’s single photo The human cost of COVID-19 and the series Europe’s Bleeding Wound by Alexander Yermochenko, noted by the International Committee of the Red Cross’ special prize For Humanitarian Photography in the Top News category.
A series of portraits of doctors combatting COVID-19, There is glory in prevention by Patrick Junker, was awarded a special prize by Al Mayadeen TV’s special prize in the Portrait. A Hero of Our Time category, and the documentary chronicle of Locust invasion in East Africa by Luis Tato received the high praise of the Shanghai United Media Group in the My Planet category.
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 of the contest include the Rossiya-Kultura federal channel, Moskva 24 channel, Vesti.Ru news website.
International media partners include Sputnik news agency and radio, RT channel and website, Askanews news agency, Independent Media holding, Telam news agency, ANA news agency, Shanghai United Media Group (SUMG), China Daily news website, The Paper news website, Al Mayadeen media network, Prensa Latina news agency and DBW news website.
Industry partners of the contest include the Russian Union of Journalists, YOung JOurnalists news portal, Russian Photo portal, Photo-study.ru website, Photography Academy, Fotoargenta magazine, Delhi Photography Club, LF Magazine, All About Photo website, EYE photography magazine, Artdoc magazine, IPhoto Channel and PhotON festival.