Award of Excellence

Sergei Stroitelev
Independent
Russia

About 55 thousand cases of breast cancer are identified in Russia every year. Behind statistics there are stories of thousands of women who fight the disease. Natalia: “I felt a lump in my chest in 2012. Then the ground disappeared under my feet, I was not ready for this diagnosis. I didn’t even think that at the age of 29 this could happen to me. I was scared of my husband’s reaction to the fact that my breast had to be removed. But he was very supportive. After a while, I found a lump in the second breast. After the operation and complete breast removal, I could not look calmly in the mirror and still do not do it very often. The first time I was able to step over myself in a spa center in Germany, where I had to completely undress, but Russian people are not ready for this. I really want to believe that cancer can be treated, that there will still be some years of remission and I will see how my daughter grows up, how she will get married. I am setting myself up for old age.”

I am a freelance photographer and visual artist based in Saint-Petersburg, Russia working with National Geographic Russia, VICE UK/USA, De Volkskrant, Takie Dela, others. My photographic practice primarily focuses on the exploration of the issues of modern society. With the help of different visual languages and forms I look at problems of identity of minorities, gender, health and racial prejudice, ecology and consumerism. I often execute very personal photographic projects exploring my very own inner demons, past and family. I am the awardee of the number of international contests such as: Award of Excellence in Portrait series category at POYi 2021, winner of Istanbul Photo Awards 2018 in Daily Life Story category; winner of Debuts 2018 photocontest organized by Doc! Photomagazine; 3rd place at Direct Look Photocontest 2018, finalist of Hellerau Portraits Awards 2016, 2017; winner of Luis Valtuena Humanitarian Photography Award 2016 granted by Doctors of the World NGO (I was developing the grant for 3 months (April – June 2017) In Reggio Calabria, Italy cooperating with the local branch of Doctors of the World NGO whilst working on the several projects dedicated to the issue of migration in that region). I also teach photography at Fotografika academy in Saint-Petersburg.

[ PORTRAITS ] A single photograph of a person or group of people that increases the understanding and appreciation of the subject(s). Selfies or self-portraits are acceptable. Each participant is allowed to enter up to 10 images. The images must be taken in 2019 or 2020.

Judges for Portraits
Abir Abdullah
Nariman El Mofty
Bryan van der Beek
Shiho Fukada
Wonsuk Choi
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