Kochetkova is 2018 Andrei Stenin contest Grand Prix winner

November 9, 2018, 3:37 pm

MOSCOW, Russia -- The Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest, organized by Rossiya Segodnya under the aegis of the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO, bared the biggest mystery of this year’s competition -- the Grand Prix and the first prize in the My Planet. Series.

Alyona Kochetkova, 30, from Kaluga,won with her series of photographs “How I fell ill” – a documentary story about her dramatic fight against cancer.

“For me it is a very difficult and very personal story which, despite everything, I would like to share with as many people as possible,” Alyona said. “Sympathy and compassion awaken our love for our family and friends, which is never enough. At the same time, it is a word of support to those who are sick and perhaps feel lonely because they have no opportunity to talk about their feelings. Working on this series was also a way for me to avoid having a breakdown and to accept this ordeal and live by doing what I love.”

She said, “The Andrei Stenin Contest is one of the most relevant and significant photography competitions. I was interested to hear the evaluation of my work given by an international jury and to compete with the best young photographers from around the world. It is a chance to prove to myself that I can tell a story in such a way that others would appreciate.”

In My Planet. Single, the first prize was awarded to “Cranberry heart”, a drone photo of swamp berry harvesting by Sergei Gapon from Belarus. The first-prize winners in Top News are Justin Sullivan (South Africa) with “Standoff” featuring a police officer pointing his gun at three poor men hiding under a table, and Luis Tato (Spain) for his series “Kenya’s post-election turmoil”.

The first prizes in Sports were awarded to Taisir Mahdi (Iraq) for his photo “The desire for life” featuring a young amputee and a football forward, and Andrea Alai (Italy) for his series “Ultras” about Albenga Calcio club’s “tifosi” from a Ligurian town.

Oded Wagenstein (Israel), with his single photo of a young Nenets nomad “Rosebud”, took first place in the Portrait. A Hero of Our Time category. Shiva Khademi (Iran) won with her series “Gemini”.

The competition partnered with one of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations, the International Red Cross Committee (IRCC), as well as Shanghai United Media Group (SUMG) and Al Mayadeen TV pan-Arabist media holding.

The IRCC presented special prizes for humanitarian photography to two Iranian masters. Omid Vahabzadeh received the prize for his single “Tehran attack” featuring a two-year-old boy being pulled into a parliament building window after a terrorist attack in Tehran in June 2017. Younes Khani Someeh Soflaei received the prize for his series “And life rises” about everyday life of the people hit by the 2017 earthquake in the Kermahshah Province, which killed almost 600 people and destroyed more than 30,000 houses.

Shanghai United Media Group (SUMG) and Al Mayadeen TV honored Sports. Single winner Taisir Mahdi’s “The desire for life” with a special prize.

“Today is an important day for us. Every fall we remember our comrade, Rossiya Segodnya photojournalist Andrei Stenin, who was killed in the line of duty in southeastern Ukraine. We have established a contest for young photographers to commemorate him. Brought together by his name, young photographers from around the world share their concerns with us, using Stenin’s works as a gauge of truth. Each photograph submitted for the contest tells a story of a person, an individual or even a country,” Rossiya Segodnya Director General Dmitry Kiselev said.

Meanwhile, State Historical Museum Director Alexei Levykin said, “We are happy that the State Historical Museum is the first exhibition venue of the international tour of the winners of the Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest. It is very important that Rossiya Segodnya supports young photographers and, thanks to our cooperation, a great number of people can see these photographs.” 

The awards ceremony at the State Historical Museum Exhibition Center was followed by the opening of the exhibition of the winners’ photos, which will run from November 9 to 30. Admission is free.

A total of 25 young photographers from 14 countries competed for the Grand Prix, including Russia, Iraq, Iran, Italy, Spain, Belarus, Israel and South Africa.

The exhibition displays around 200 works by the best young photojournalists, which reflect the signature images of today’s reality, from the biblical beauty of white brick quarries in Upper Egypt to clip montages of post-election events in Kenya in the fall of 2017; from the Arctic culture of Nenets nomads to red-hot sports battles at the 2017 French Open.  

A preview of the exhibition, which took place at the UN Headquarters in New Yorl on Nov. 2. The International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, was attended by Alison Smale, UN Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya and Rossiya Segodnya Deputy Editor-in-Chief Andrei Blagodyrenko. After Moscow, the exhibition will go on tour around Russia and abroad.

About the contest:

The Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest was launched by Rossiya Segodnya under the aegis of the Russian Commission for UNESCO. Its main goal is to support young photographers and draw public attention to the challenges of modern photojournalism. This contest is a platform for young photographers; talented, empathetic and open-minded, they draw our attention to people and events around us.

In 2018, the contest jury included representatives from the world’s leading news agencies: AFP (France), Anadolu Ajansi (Turkey), Notimex (Mexico), as well as world-class photographers and editors. The jury was chaired by Ahmet Sel, who is Visual News Editor in Chief for Anadolu Agency (Turkey).

The contest’s general information partners include: the news website Vesti.Ru, the Russian state Rossiya-Kultura TV channel,  news website ZhurDom and the Russian Photo website. International media partners include Sputnik News Agency and Radio, Askanews news agency, Independent Media holding, Notimex news agency, RT TV channel and news site, The Royal Photographic Society, Shanghai United Media Group (SUMG), news agency ANA, TeleSUR international informative multiplatform, China Daily web-site, Frontline magazine, The Philippine News Agency, AlYoum AlSabee, The Paper, Radio Republik Indonesia, BERNAMA news agency, Al Mayadeen. Industry media partners include the Academy of Photography, GeoPhoto agency, Photo-study.ru educational portal, the Union of Journalists of Moscow, the Union of Art Photographers of Russia, Young Journalists information portal, School of visual arts.  International Exhibition partner is PhotON  Festival. (Rossiya Segodnya Press Service)