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The Calvert Journal in Association with Bird In Flight Has Launched the New East Photo Prize

The New East Photo Prize international photo competition is now open for submissions. Photographers from countries in Eastern Europe, Russia, the Balkans and Central Asia are welcome to participate.

The main idea of The New East Photo Prize is to broaden the perception of the social and cultural landscape of the countries of Eastern Europe and the former USSR. “Although hugely diverse, the countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union are often represented in an outdated manner which negates the rich culture and variety of creative output from these nations, — the organizers note. — The prize seeks to broaden perceptions of the New East through the medium of photography.”

Each participant can submit a series of up to 15 photographs or a short film not exceeding 5 minutes in length. The judges include two-time World Press Photo winner Donald Weber, Head of Photography at the Guardian Roger Tooth, recipient of the Aperture Portfolio Prize Alexander Gronsky, as well as Bird In Flight photo editor Olga Osipova.

The winner will be offered an opportunity to publish their works as a photo book, and the photographs of shortlisted participants will be exhibited in London for two months. There is also a special prize from Bird In Flight — £1,000 to complete an unfinished documentary project.

For more details about entering The New East Photo Prize, or to submit your work, please click here.


Igor Zinatulin, Head of Strategy and Business Development at the Calvert 22 Foundation

The Foundation has been organizing exhibitions of contemporary artists and photographers from the former Eastern Bloc in London for 7 years now. Despite the cultural and economic diversity of the countries in this region, most of which have long parted with the ghost of communism, they still have one problem in common: for most Western audiences they still present a historical riddle. One of the projects of the Foundation, The Calvert Journal publishes daily stories about art projects and cultural phenomena from all 29 countries that once used to be isolated from the rest of the world by the ‘Iron Curtain’. The physical curtain has long been gone, but there is a lingering feeling of a lack of understanding and representation of art, films, design, and music from this region. We are trying to bridge this gap.

Photography has long become one of the most popular sections on the website — and not only because it is the medium that is fairly accessible to a broad audience. First of all, it happened because documentary and art photography has recently flourished all over the ‘New East’. Every day we are contacted by exceptionally talented photographers from the most varied of places, from Yerevan to Zagreb. And at some point we decided that we can do more to support the new generation of photographers than publish their work on our website. This is how the idea of The New East Photo Prize came to life. It is a competition for young people who practice photography that will potentially give them a chance to exhibit their work to the world’s finest critics, curators, and journalists in a gallery in London. We are glad that our colleagues from Bird In Flight supported our initiative and offered to add an extra nomination for an unfinished documentary project.


Olga Osipova, Photo Editor for Bird In Flight

We have always been interested in what photographers really want to capture. In the themes that get postponed because of the everyday routine, in the things that really interest them. That is why we granted them full freedom in choosing a theme for their documentary project, and will give the prize to the photographer who will be the most persuasive and sincere. Besides, photographers often start shooting a story, and then give it up halfway through because they lack motivation. It would be great if our grant became sort of a push that would encourage someone to finish what they had started.

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