Andrei Stenin 2017 Shortlist Announced

29 May 2017

Competitions

The international contest for young photojournalists organized by Rossiya Segodnya under the auspices of the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO has selected a shortlist of for the 2017 contest. The shortlist published at stenincontest.com was selected by an international jury and includes photographers from 14 countries who will compete for the main prizes with the winners being announced on August 7 2017. The prestigious international award for young photographers will be presented in the Autumn in Moscow. As in previous years, the winning photos will be displayed not only in Russia but also abroad until the end of 2017.

This year the number of countries taking part has increased, securing the contest’s status as a prestigious international platform that discovers new names in world photography. The 2017 contest’s shortlist was selected by award-winning representatives from the Russian and international photography community. The jury, chaired by Stern Director of Photography, Andreas Trampe, reviewed some 5,000 photos by contestants from 76 countries across four categories, including Top News, Sport, My Planet, and Portrait. A Hero of Our Time. Each category was divided into single photos and series.

Director of the Rossiya Segodnya Integrated Directorate of Photography, Alexander Shtol, said: “The entries are becoming stronger and more mature each year, which indicates the growing professionalism of young photojournalists. Also this year we are happy to announce that our partners, Al Mayadeen TV media holding, Shanghai United Media Group and the International Committee of the Red Cross, established their own prizes for the shortlisted contestants that they believe are the best, making the total prize fund much bigger. There is much excitement on its way for the prize winners.”

Chairman of the Andrei Stenin International Photo Contest jury, director of photography at Stern magazine Andreas Trampe, said: "This year’s entries for the Andrei Stenin Award were mostly of a high level of photography. Nearly all series, which we shortlisted in all four categories were even outstanding in quality, in terms of the relevance of the photographed stories and the quality of the photographic work.  

The strongest single image categories were ‘Top News’, followed by ‘Portrait: A Hero of Our Time’. The works about migrants and the coverage of the crises in Syria, Libya, and Ukraine were especially courageously covered. Some subjects which, on an initial viewing seemed unspectacular, were in fact very strong.

The photographers who are not on this year’s shortlist, should keep some points in mind for the next year. If their stories are focused strongly enough and answer to the following two criteria for a successful entry: What exactly is my story about? How can I present my story in a 12 image photo series with a lot of different photographic variation and with the one or other surprising image?"

Jury member, editor-in-chief of Xinmin Evening News Chen Qiwei: “The contest has shown its great international influence and professionalism. I am deeply impressed by the high quality of the pictures”.

Jury member, photo editor at Independent Media Ian Landsberg: “This year's entries prove to be of an exceptionally high standard which is quite significant taken into consideration the young age of contestants (18-33 years) competing in a contest where the playing field is leveled for both young and experienced visual storytellers. 

Worth mentioning is that the images submitted for this year's competition, irrespective of whether they've made the cut or not, highlight the desire and eagerness of these young photojournalists to visually tell their stories of life, living and the planet. Entries by and large reveal the positive approach these young contestants have towards turning ordinary things such as “Garden” and normal everyday life (school boy's daily journey etc.) into subject matter for compelling visual storytelling. This is a rather significant and welcome shift away from the mainstream media's preoccupation with sensationalism, crime and mayhem. Some entries even dare to challenge the current status quo and the taboos of photojournalism with experimental techniques (deliberate use of direct flash, push processing, same portrait poses for abused women, etc.)

Some of the shortcomings identified in this year's entries are the following: Portraits, although technically good, often lack the capturing/portraying of the soul/character of the person/s being photographed. 

Entries in the Series category, often have only one or two strong images; the rest is either similar, a repetition or simply just irrelevant. It takes the viewer nowhere because Often there is no clear and/or consistent story line explaining what the story of the series is.  To hone their storytelling skills, photojournalists must have a clear understanding of WHAT they want to tell with their pictures. They must present strong pictures that can tell viewers what is taking place. To assist the narrative definitive elements are vital to boost images because pictures after all must speak louder than words. A photojournalist's task is to show the unseen even though there are restrictions. That is what distinguishes them from cellphone and snapshot shooters”.  

The 2016 contest received 6,000 entries of young photojournalists from 71 countries. Winning photographs have been exhibited in Moscow, Istanbul, Cape Town, Shanghai, Beijing, Cairo, Berlin, Rome, Maribor and Ljubljana.

Image: Alejandro Martínez Vélez, España. Refugiados en Belgrado.