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 26/06/1985.
I am a freelance photographer and visual artist based in Saint-Petersburg, Russia working on a regular basis with National Geographic Russia, VICE UK, Takie Dela, Bird in Flight magazine, 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 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, grand prix at Non-accidental Witness photocontest 2016; finalist of Hellerau Portraits Awards 2016, 2017; honorable mentions at Photography Grant 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.