[ 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. Submissions do not have to adhere to documentary principles. Alternate processes and digital manipulations are allowed. Each submission consists of 5 to 20 images. Each participant is allowed to enter up to 2 submissions. All images must be taken in 2022.

Judges for Cultural Practices
Sandipa Malakar
Willy Kurniawan
Zhou Yang
Ki-Ho Park
Suzanne Lee
Quick links

First Place

Behind The Snow

Sergei Stroitelev

Arkhangelsk region is a vast region situated in the North of Russia. It has the most number of abondoned villages in the country. The extinction of the villages are happening for the economical reasons. After the collapse of the USSR all the farms and big factories have been closed. The youth left to the big cities in search for working opportunities. Old people began to die. In some of the villages there is just one resident left. I have found 8 villages in Arkhangelsk region inhabited by one person or family. I learned the stories of those people and documented their daily routine. I have also collected archival images where it was possible to save the memories of their previous happy life full of events and joy. They live alone on the land in which they have grown roots, finding strength and motivation in memories, pets, songs or alcohol. These people have witnessed several epochs of Russia. They have seen how troubled times have turned their land into oblivion. Despite difficult living conditions the last residents do not want to leave the villages saying they have been born here and here they will die. The current project reveals Russian realities which are hidden due to the lack of freedom of speech in the country. The testimonies of the characters constitute the story of modern Russia and display what happened to the country after the collapse of the USSR.


Between Two Lakes

Alexander Sharr

In an old photo from a family album, I am in a striped sweater with a cat in my arms and out of focus. Focus is on the calendar behind me — with peacocks and flowers — for 1995 and 1996. So I am about nine years old, and the photo was taken during the summer school holidays in the village of Kinelahta. I can’t remember much from that time, only a few things: a red horse on wheels, how it neighs when you pull the cable; plastic palm trees with bananas and monkeys; dried pike head, my grandfather’s fishing trophy. I remember how my father and I went fishing on the lake and, scooping up water in my boots, walked home. I remember the smell of the forest I walked through and the blueberry lips at the end of the walk. After the outbreak of the war, I decided to go to Kinelahta again. My trip was an escape from what is happening, an escape from the crowd, an attempt to forget myself in the memories of a carefree childhood. Now, as a father, I went to the countryside with my ten-year-old son. I captured the time we spent together on my camera, our distant relatives, places and objects that used to be important for me and the changes that have happened to them. In his book The Story of a German, Sebastian Hafner writes that the world has not noticed the abundance of escapist literature written in Germany between 1934 to 1938. Then, against the backdrop of pogroms, processions and the construction of defense plants, deliberately sentimental stories about summer holidays, first love and water meadows poured onto the shelves of bookstores. I can’t help feeling similar to what these authors felt, while I still live In Russia, when the future is saturated with anxiety and I increasingly turn to my serene past.


Place of Power

Natasha Lozinskaya

Okunevo - at first glance is a very ordinary Siberian village. Like in many Russian villages, it seems here that life and world order have not changed for many years. But in the 1990s, a woman named Rasma Rozitis came to the village directly from India on behalf of an Indian guru and said that the ancient temple of Hanuman was in this place above or under one of the lakes. She said that the temple had magical powers. Since then, Okunevo has been called the place of power. Pilgrims from different countries and cities began to come to Okunevo, seeking their salvation and answers to the questions of the world, plunged into the sacred five lakes, explored ancient religious practices and saw prophetic dreams. Gradually, communities of different religions and beliefs began to appear in village. Worshippers of Krishna, Shiva, Orthodox Christians, Slavic pagans, esotericists began to live side by side with ordinary Siberian inhabitants. Now Okunevo is considered a temple of tolerance of all religions and mysterious place of power. It is one of the few places on earth where people of different confessions coexist peacefully.
‘I’ll be looking at the moon, but I’ll be seeing you’ is a project, inspired by the opening scene in Jean Luc- Godard’s Le Mépris (1963) and the Billie Holiday song, I’ll Be Seeing You (1944). This body of work was initiated by Katragadda on the expressions and registers of love through a protagonist, his partner Shweta. It is an ode to the in-betweens, the interlude filled with memories of loves lost and a longing for the reawakening of love. It attempts to capture ways of seeing and searching for one’s lover, the desire and heartache of looking for the elusive other in the spaces around. The overarching symbol of the moon combines the desire for the lover, the desire for the world, and the desire for the image. The work draws from the genre of gothic romance with subtexts of the supernatural, absent presences, portentous spaces charged with fear and desire, hidden secrets, omens, and birds. Like the moon that indexes both absence and presence, wholeness and emptiness - the book's central character is a haunting figure on the verge of disappearance and subsequent reappearance. Through mark-making, erasure, and embroidery, the aim is to layer the images to bring out the complexities of the self and relationships.