The jury, which comprises leading photographers and editors from world media outlets, chose the best pictures from the 6,000 works submitted. In 2019, photography professionals from 80 countries on all five continents sent their works for the competition.
The main topics of the 2019 photographs are global social challenges. The young photographers did more than create a whole new visual language for describing them, combining various genres and formats. Their works do not simply identify the problems and expose their causes. The possible consequences of these problems — for the country, the region, or the entire planet — become central to their stories.
Oksana Oleinik, the curator of the photo contest and the head of the Visual Projects Service of the Rossiya Segodnya United Photo Information Directorate, noted that the quality of finalists’ works had been growing every year.
"The main indicator of their professionalism is not only the superb fluency in the language of photography. It is also reflected in their choice of topics, first of all, social issues, of which there are many this year. And it is not enough for young photographers to just indicate a problem. Modern photojournalism implies the ability to link its causes and effects, to look beyond its momentary expression. In this sense, photography has no equal, because its language is international," she said.
UK photographer James Hill from The New York Times, who is also the jury chairman, in turn, admitted that the process of selecting best works was difficult, but the jury also greatly enjoyed sharing their views on the photographs.
"Well, what I found interesting was that the quality of the work, in general, was quite high. Of course, in different categories, we had different strengths of winners, so in some cases, we had a very hard time deciding which entries to give prizes to. And in other ones, there were entries which were obviously much better than the others. But at the same time, I think that it was a complicated process for the jurors in that you have editors, you have photographers, you have different people looking at images, and looking at images or any kind of painting or photograph is a very subjective business. So in fact, what I really enjoyed was the discussion that took place as we each put forward the reasons for which we supported one entry or another, and the quality of the work was such that we had plenty to talk about," Hill said.
The contest is named after Rossiya Segodnya's photo correspondent — Andrei Stenin — who was killed while covering the conflict in the east of Ukraine in 2014. Its main goal is to support young photographers, aged between 18 and 33, and draw public attention to the challenges of modern photojournalism.
In 2019, the general media partners of the contest are the news website Vesti.Ru and the Russian state Rossiya-Kultura TV channel. The international information partners of the contest include Sputnik International Information Agency and Radio, Askanews Information Agency, Independent Media Holding, Notimex News Agency, ANA News Agency, RT channel and website, Shanghai United Media Group (SUMG), China Daily website, PNA news agency, AlYoum AlSabee newspaper and website, The Paper website, Al Mayadeen media network, Prensa Latina Information Agency, The Nation media group and Renminwang website. The industry partners supporting the contest are the Russian Photo and Photo-study.ru websites, School of Visual Arts, Academy of Photography, the YOung JOurnalists information portal, National Geographic Russia magazine, the Contrastes magazine, the Fotoargenta magazine, the All About Photo website, Cuartoscuro magazine, Delhi Photography Club, EYE Photo magazine and PhotON festival as an international partner.