Finalist

Sergei Stroitelev
Independent
Russia

In 2015, young people from Chechnya and Dagestan began to leave for territories controlled by the Islamic State searching for a better life, which recruiters promised them. All these people have finally been imprisoned or went missing. Back at home mothers are ready for anything to return their children home. I project photographs of the missing ones onto the figures of their mothers, showing that the war has no boundaries - it can affect people living miles away the conflict. I am also willing to display the strongest bond between relatives which cannot be destroyed by distance and time. Zara: "My son's wife, Aishat was very quiet. In fact, she met a man on social networks, a recruiter. One day she left with children saying that she was going to visit her relatives in the village. At that time my son was working in Moscow. Recently we learned she was in Al-Khol (a closed refugee camp on the border of Syria and Iraq). Her youngest boy Ali was killed by a shrapnel during shelling.

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: winner of Bartur Photo Awards 2021 in Unity in Diversity Professional category; 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 2021.
Judges for Portraits
Anush Babajanyan
Liang-Pin Tsao
Nyimas Laula
Samuel He
Jean Chung
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