Spain's Alejandro Martinez Velez Wins Andrei Stenin International Photo Contest

© Sputnik / Ekaterina Chesnokova / Go to the mediabankAlejandro Martinez Velez and Rossiya Segodnya Director General Dmitry Kiselev during the Stenin contest award ceremony in Moscow
Alejandro Martinez Velez and Rossiya Segodnya Director General Dmitry Kiselev during the Stenin contest award ceremony in Moscow - Sputnik International
A Spanish photojournalist won the Grand Prix of the Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest on Thursday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest, organized by Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency under the aegis of the Commission of Russia for UNESCO, has announced the winner of the 2017 competition of the best young photographers.

The Grand Prix, together with first place in the Top News category, went to Alejandro Martinez Velez from Spain. He was awarded for his Migrants in Belgrade series, a piercing story of people with a lost future. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) gave the young Spaniard a special prize for humanitarian photography for his series.

© Photo : Alejandro Martinez Velez | StenincontestAlejandro Martinez Velez, Spain. Migrants in Belgrade.
Alejandro Martinez Velez, Spain. Migrants in Belgrade. - Sputnik International
Alejandro Martinez Velez, Spain. Migrants in Belgrade.

Along with the Spanish photojournalist, young photographers from other countries were awarded high prizes, including a journalist from South Africa, Phandulwazi Jikelo, for his Grabouw Housing Protest (Top News, single photograph, 1st place), Jelena Jankovic from Serbia, whose Selfie Culture photo charmed the jury (My Planet, single photograph, 1st place), Danilo Garcia Di Meo from Italy with a series of photographs called "What?" telling the story of young Italian woman Ambre’s courage and will to live (Portrait: A Hero of Our Time, series, 1st place) and Russian photographer Valentin Yegorshin with a photograph titled "Face From the Past" (Portrait: A Hero of Our Time, single photograph, 1st place).

“Today is an important day for us. Every year, in the first days of the fall, we remember our comrade, Rossiya Segodnya’s photojournalist Andrei Stenin, who was killed while on an editorial assignment in Ukraine. This contest for young photographers was named after Andrei in his memory. Today, the contest that carries Andrei’s name brings together photo reporters from across the world, who shed light on issues they believe to be important, drawing inspiration from Andrei’s work as a paragon of truth,” Rossiya Segodnya Director General Dmitry Kiselev said at the award ceremony.

This year the prize fund of the contest grew thanks to special contributions from leading international media, including the Shanghai United Media Group (SUMG) and the Al Mayadeen TV channel, as well as the ICRC, one of the world's largest humanitarian organizations. Out of a few hundred works, the ICRC selected a single photograph by Anna Pantelia from Greece titled "The European Dream," and the "Migrants in Belgrade" photo series by Alejandro Martinez Velez in the Top News category. "Theater Without Borders," a single photo by Anar Movsumov from Russia, was chosen in the My Planet category and got the SUMG special prize, while the "Silent Howl" series by Md Shahnewaz Khan from Bangladesh in the Portrait: A Hero of Our Time category was given the Al Mayadeen TV special prize.

A baby sits in a cardboard box in the Idomeni camp on the Greek-Macedonian border - Sputnik International
Andrei Stenin Int'l Photo Contest Entrant Wins Special Red Cross Award
The exhibition of more than 200 works of the best young photojournalists is taking place at the Lumiere Brothers Gallery. Their works depict fragments of ordinary people’s lives, landmark events in big cities and countries, sport moments and colorful ethnic festivals.

Sports is one of the highlights of the 2017 display and a lucky category for entrants from Russia, as all prizes in the Sports category went to Russian photographers. Among the most striking photos is the "Elegant Fan" by Konstantin Chalabov from Novgorod, who captured a man at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in a fit of sporting excitement, and the "At Your Fingertips" photo series about victories and trials in gymnastics by Alexei Filippov from Moscow.

The exhibition will run until September 17. It is free and is open to the public during the museum’s opening hours. After Moscow, the exhibition will be held in Russian regions and other countries.

Earlier, Sputnik Kyrgyzstan photo correspondent Tabyldy Kadyrbekov won the online voting with his "Candy Floss Lady" picture.

© Photo : Tabyldy Kadyrbekov | Stenincontest‘Candy floss lady’/Tabyldy Kadyrbekov, Kyrgyzstan
‘Candy floss lady’/Tabyldy Kadyrbekov, Kyrgyzstan - Sputnik International
‘Candy floss lady’/Tabyldy Kadyrbekov, Kyrgyzstan

Tabyldy Kadyrbekov describes how the winning photo came about: "There was a snowstorm in the street. To be honest, I was reluctant to go out when the editor told me to make a photo report. But in the process of taking photos I really got into it, and I no longer felt cold and stopped hiding from the snow. It was interesting to see how residents of Bishkek responded to the snowstorm. I was about to finish my photo session in the capital when I saw a granny selling candy floss. I took a photo of her from behind but it seemed to me that something was missing. I walked around her and took a couple of pictures. She smiled and I took this picture. She asked me: "Why are you taking pictures of me?" I said: "As a memento."

Full information about the winners and their works can be found on the Winners 2017 page at

A visitor at the opening of a photo exhibition of the prizewinners in the Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest in Moscow. File photo - Sputnik International
Andrei Stenin Int'l Photo Contest to Announce Grand Prize Winner on September 7
The Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest aims to support young photographers and to draw public attention to the challenges of photojournalism in today’s world. It is a platform for young photographers who draw people’s attention to the people and events around them.

In 2017, the Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest received about 5,000 photos from 76 countries in four categories: Top News, Sports, My Planet, and Portrait: A Hero of Our Time.

Rossiya Segodnya Director General Dmitry Kiselev said that photographers from 76 countries have submitted their works for the Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest in 2017.

"We receive more and more works every year. More and more countries are participating in our competition. Now it is already 76 countries, we have received 5,000 works from photographers in solidarity with Andrei, in solidarity with us, who have something to say," Kiselev said during the award ceremony.

General media partners of the contest include the news website Vesti.Ru, the Russian state Rossiya-Kultura TV channel, news website, news website ZhurDom and the Russian Photo website. International media partners of the contest include Sputnik News Agency and Radio, Askanews news agency, Independent Media holding, Notimex news agency, RT TV channel and news site, The Royal Photographic Society, Shanghai United Media Group (SUMG), Xinhua news agency, ANDES news agency, news agency ANA and Al Mayadeen TV channel. Industry media partners include the Academy of Photography, GeoPhoto agency, educational portal, Bleek Magazine, the Union of Journalists of Moscow, the Union of Art Photographers of Russia, Young Journalists information portal and the festivals PhotoVisa and Uglich Photo Parade.

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