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.

First Place

Behind The Snow

Sergei Stroitelev

I am a Russian born freelance photographer and visual artist residing in Georgia and working on a regular basis with Helsingin Sanomat, De Volkskrant, VICE UK/USA, Meduza, Novaya Gazeta, 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, consequences of the conflicts and natural disasters. 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: NPPA Best of Photojournalism, Bartur Photo Awards, Pictures of the Year International, Pictures of the Year Asia, Istanbul Photo Awards, Direct Look Photocontest, Hellerau Portraits Awards, Luis Valtuena Humanitarian Photography Award and many more.

[ 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
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