“Rosebud” by Oded Wagenstein (Israel). First Place, Portrait. A Hero of Our Time, single. “A child from the Serotetto family, part of the nomadic Nenets tribe, standing on the family’s wooden sleigh, during their migration over the river of Ob. Yamal Peninsula, Siberia, Russia. March 2017.”
Young photojournalists from around the world showed off their incredible skills by entering the Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest. Russia’s only vehicle for unearthing up and coming photojournalists, the competition is open to photographers age 18 to 33 years old. The contest is named after Russian photojournalist Andrei Stenin, who tragically lost his life in 2014 at age 33 while on assignment in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine.
Following in his steps, young photojournalists from 77 countries submitted nearly 6,000 images in an effort to demonstrate the power of their craft. The young professionals were asked to submit either single images or a series to four different categories—Top News, Sport, My Planet, and Portrait. A Hero of Our Time. The winners of each category demonstrate how deep the global pool of photojournalistic talent is. Hailing from Iran, Belarus, Israel, Russia, and South Africa, among other countries, these photojournalists do vital work in helping the public understand what’s happening in the world.
“Young photojournalists have a very acute sense of what matters the most, and what is going on in the lives of people, countries, and the world in general,” says Alexander Shtol, Director of Rossiya Segodnya’s Photo Service. “There were never as many images on social issues as this year. It is also pleasing to note the improving quality of submissions, as well as the fact that the contest has become so prominent within the community of photojournalists.
From incredible images of post-election turmoil in Kenya to deeply personal stories about surviving cancer, the winning photographs grapple with stories the public isn’t always ready to face, but needs to understand. Russian photographer Alyona Kochetkova took home the Gran Prix top prize with her series How I Fell Ill, which documents her experience with cancer. From the initial throes of anxiety and fear to the will to push through and recover, Kochetkova shares her raw emotions through her set of artistic photos.
The winning images will now be included in a traveling exhibition, which in past years has traveled to locations like Cape Town, Shanghai, Cairo, and Rome.
The Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest celebrates the work of young professional photojournalists.
“Kenya’s Post-Election Turmoil” by Luis Tato (Spain). First place, Top news, series. “An opposition supporter carries a stone on her head under the heavy rain in front a burning barricade in Mathare, Nairobi on October 26, 2017, as a group of demonstrators attempted to prevent voters from accessing a polling station in presidential elections. Kenyan politics is characterized by inter-ethnic tensions and Kenyan elections were marred by deadly riots, violent protests, killings, and beatings in key opposition strongholds along the country. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International found that just during the post-electoral process, police and inter-ethnic conflicts killed at least 100 people, and injured hundreds more in several parts of the country.”
“How I Fell Ill” by Alyona Kochetkova (Russia). First place, Gran Prix, series. “Everyone knows the word ‘cancer,’ and people are afraid of it, although they hardly know anything about this disease. When I was diagnosed with cancer, I, too, knew nothing about it, and I did not have the slightest idea of the road that I would have to travel: from fear for my life to hopes for a recovery.”
“The desire for life” by Taisir Mahdi (Iraq). First place, Sport, single. “A child plays football and is cut off as a result of terrorism and defies his handicap in order to sustain life.”
“Stand Off” by Justin Sullivan (South Africa). First place, Top news, single. “A police officer points his gun at three occupants under a table moments after shooting a 14-year-old boy in the mouth at close range. The 14-year-old boy was the middle occupant. After this incident, the protest over fishing quotas turned violent and led to 3 days of unrest in the community.”
“Ultras” by Andrea Alai (Italy). First place, Sports, series. “According to an Italian Police census, there are about 41,000 Ultras fans in Italy. The AlbengaCalcio plays in the Ligurian ‘Eccellenza’ championship—its Ultras group is respected throughout the whole of Italy and for many, belonging to it, is a source of great honor and pride.”
“Cranberry heart” by Sergei Gapon (Belarus). First place, My Planet, single. “Harvesting cranberries in Pinsk District. It is one of the regions with the highest unemployment rate in Belarus. The cranberry harvest season is the only way to earn money for locals. Employees should spend about 10 hours in ice water every day. Cranberry heart symbolizes the engine of the region.”
“Gemini” by Shiva Khademi (Iran). First Place, Portrait. A Hero of Our Time, series. “According to global statistics, one percent of the world’s population consists of twins and multiples. Based on the statistics from Iran National Organization for Civil Registration, the multiple births in Iran have been up to three percent of births since 2011. When I faced identical twins, I was mesmerized by their matching outfits, similar make-up and hairstyles and body language; I was astonished by the fact that they finished each other’s sentences or uttered words with the same tone together; they even smiled or had to think at the same time, sometimes had similar dreams, similar exam results, and they had identical tastes… and these similar behaviors were strange and astounding, yet so ordinary and innate according to themselves.
The question that led to the idea of this photo collection in my mind was that, is their identity ‘one’ that has been repeated twice, or do they have their own independent existence, despite being double? Are they a manifestation of beauty which has been duplicated? Is their nature a line between reality and fantasy? It’s all as if they touch the flowing forgotten feelings and waken something deep within us, which originates in the depth of obscure ancient rituals and cultures.”
Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest: Website
My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by the Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest.