Conceptual - NOMINEE: Sergei Stroitelev
Photo © Sergei Stroitelev
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Kaliningrad region, December – March 2015
During last year, I traveled several times to the most Western part of my home country – Kaliningrad region. This land has a strange and mystical history. Before the World War II it was a part of Germany. As a result of the war, it branched forth to the Soviet Union and was artificially populated by the Soviet citizens. People with a very hard destiny who came to reside in Kaliningrad region did not belong to this land, and began to destroy the architecture. Sadly it is continuing nowadays, despite the change of the generations.
My aim was to find out what connected people to the land which seemed alien to them. I found the answer - it was a unique nature of these territories – sand, dunes, dancing forest and the Baltic sea. I decided to photograph the people whom I accidentally met during my trip and the natural sacred places of each of them. As a result I formed diptychs which displayed the weakness, fragility and imperfection of human body and the power of mysterious nature of this region.
Born in Leningrad, Russia in 1985.
I am a freelance documentary photographer working on a regular basis with National Geographic Russia, VICE UK/USA, lenta.ru, Takie Dela, Bird in Flight, Open Russia, Meduza, Vokrug Sveta magazines, RIA novosti, Kommersant photos and Getty Images agencies as a stringer.
In 2014 I graduated from U.A.Galperin School of Photojournalism of Saint-Petersburg with Golden Mark - award for the best diploma project which was dedicated to the revolution in Kiev.
In 2014-15 I spent 10 months in Nepal cooperating with different non-governmental structures and organizations such as Red Cross Nepal, Nepal Leprosy Trust whilst executing projects covering human rights issues in the country - children with HIV, discrimination of leprosy affected people, human trafficking.
I am the awardee of the number of international contests. The most recent achievements are Jury's Special Award at Humanity Photo Awards 2015, finalist of Manuel Rivera-Ortiz grant for documentary photography projects 2015, winner of Young Photographers of Russia festival 2014, 2015 and 2016, winner of Golden Pen award (contest for journalists based in Saint-Petersburg) 2014 and 2015 in the "Photo of the Year" nomination, 3rd place at Efremov and Stenin photocontests 2015 for the series "The Way" dedicated to the migrants crisis in Europe, Honorable mentions at Photography Grant 2016 and Fine Art Photographer of the Year 2016, finalist of Hellerau Portraits awards 2016, finalist of Direct Look photocontest 2016, grand prix at Non-accidental Witness photocontest 2016, winner of Luis Valtuena Humanitarian Photography Award 2016.
During the course of my practice I am trying to experiment all the time. I am trying to find unique approach to each project I make.