Award of Excellence

Right To Believe

Fyodor Telkov


The Old Believers begin their record from the introduction of Christianity into Russia. The patriarch Nikon’s reform led to the church Schism: in 1656 the Russian Orthodox Church Council declared all those who crossed themselves with two fingers heretics. The Schism is one of the biggest tragedies in Russian history. There is some evidence that about one third of the population was killed as a result. The aftermaths of this mishap can still be seen. One cannot say that the Old Believers today have gotten over this historical background, sloughed off the old offences that had built up over the centuries; neither has the public attitude towards them changed much. Throughout their history the Old Believers have fought for the right to believe the way they considered the only possible, that it the way their fathers believed. Conservatism and closed nature of the Oldbelievers’ community that allowed them to preserve theirbelief, traditions and culture over three hundred years, thus protecting themselves from the intrusion of the often dangerous and destructive outside world. The Russian Orthodox Church rehabilitated the Old Believers in 1971, but religiosity was not encouraged by the state until Perestroika. Therefore, today's Old Believers are either people who have adopted the tradition from their grandparents, or who have passed the path of a Soviet citizen and only returned to religion in the 1990s, or those who managed to go to the taiga, to remote villages-so far that the authorities did not reach them. Some were engaged in work that did not require the image of an atheist Soviet citizen-so believers could do what they saw fit with almost impunity. Now the Old Believers face a new challenge-openness.

Fyodor Telkov was born in 1986 in Nizhniy Tagil, Russia, now is based in Ekaterinburg. Member of the Union of Photo Artists of Russia since 2010.

[ CULTURAL PRACTICES ] A set of photographs that increases the understanding and appreciation of a cultural practice. It can be about festivals, religion, traditions, or contemporary cultural trends. Each submission consists of 5 to 20 images. Each participant is allowed to enter up to 2 submissions. The images must be taken in 2019 or 2020.

Judges for Cultural Practices
Anshika Varma
Jiro Ose
Suejin Shin
Khalil Hamra
Rena Effendi