Soldiers carrying out public works, Korzunovo, Pechengsky District, Murmansk region. From the project The Borders of Russia by Maria Gruzdeva, who has won the age 16-22 category in the 2011 IdeasTap Photographic Award. Image © Maria Gruzdeva.
Young photographer Maria Gruzdeva impressed a panel of judges including Magnum member Mark Power to pick up first prize in the 16-22 age category of the 2011 IdeasTap Photographic Award.
Gruzdeva, who is now 23, was born in Russia and shot a project on the country's huge national border to win the prize. "A complicated Soviet past coupled with the vast geography of Russia has made border territories a problematic area both politically and physically," she explains. "The territories illustrate the state of modern Russia, how it is shaping its identity and its relationship with the Soviet consciousness, which it seeks to both outlive and preserve."
Lithuanian photographer Roman Sakovich won first prize in the 23-30 age category, with a series of images exploring contemporary life in his homeland. Once part of the USSR, it was the first country to declare independence but is now, like many post-Soviet states, seeing many of its young people emigrate abroad. "The central focus of this project examines how the Soviet generation is passing away as a new European citizen comes to the fore," he explains. "This project will attempt to reveal how the culture of the Baltic States is changing under the aspirational influence of bigger and wealthier countries."
Both photographers submitted multimedia content as well as still images to win the prize, and Sakovich has won a paid internship with the Magnum in Motion team in New York, plus £5000. The IdeasTap Photographic Award is run by not-for-profit organisation IdeasTap and Magnum Photos, and aims to help promote emerging photographers. It is open to photographers aged 16-30, and offers mentoring and financial support to 12 shortlisted finalists before the two winners are selected. The 2012 prize is open for entries until 01 June.
BJP is a media partner of the Award; IdeasTap is a creative network that "funds, connects and nurtures new talent". It was launched in December 2008 as the arts platform of The Peter De Haan Charitable Trust and has so far given over £650,000 in direct cash funding to young people. For more information about IdeasTap and the 2012 IdeasTap Photographic Award, visit the IdeasTap website.
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