Its main goal is to support young photographers and draw public attention to the challenges of modern photojournalism. The awards ceremony and the opening of the photo exhibition are slated to take place in November. The event was first organized in December 2014 in memory of Russian photojournalist Andrei Stenin, who was killed the same year while on assignment in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine after his car was shot at and burned on a highway.
Radio Sputnik spoke about the significance of the event with Shahnewaz Khan, the winner of the Andrei Stenin International Press Photo contest in 2016 and 2017.
Sputnik: What is the significance of the Stenin photo contests in your personal view?
Shahnewaz Khan: As a documentary photographer and as a photojournalist I want to show my works all over the world and the Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest is one of the best chances for me. It’s the best platform for any photographer and there’s also a chance to start a photography career as a photojournalist. The categories of this contest and the admissions are just outstanding. The best thing in my eyes is the participation all over the world, it’s very nice. What’s wrong in my eyes is the age limit; I think the age limit should be under 40. I want to just say that not allowing people under 40 isn’t a good idea. I am 30 but I the first photo contest. I believe it’s the best platform for any photographer.
Shahnewaz Khan: I have seen the entries. My favorites are “Tehran Attack” by Omid Vahabzadeh, “…And Life Rises” by Younes Khani Someeh Soflaei, “The Desire for Life” by Taisir Mahdi, “Street football” by Maria Plotnikova, “History on the Road Breakfast” by Sebnem Coskun, and “The Void we Leave” by Oded Wagenstein. My most favorite is “…And Life Rises” by Younes Khani Someeh Soflaei, it’s about the earthquake in Iran.
Sputnik: Your award winning work was devoted to child labor in Bangladesh, what prompted you to address this issue?
Shahnewaz Khan: I think it’s all about the relationships, eye contact, love, respect and the relationship between me and that of my brothers. I’ve always wanted to know about people, their rights, their cultures and their anxiety for life. I believe photography is something that is so important that it can change the world. My work is based on my own experience and the history of a particular community. I tried to understand the local language, culture, and to show who is the first taking any photographs.
Sputnik: Please, tell us about the most memorable part of your work.
Shahnewaz Khan: When I was working at the brickfield in 2014, I did one of my best portraits of Shakil, who is 11 years old. One day he fell asleep while working. I was laughing because I was wearing the same T-shirts, and same pants for 6 months and there’s Shakil who was 11 years old and he was working hard in the brickfield. So one day in the afternoon he just bunked off. That was the most memorable moment of my series.
Sputnik: You won the contest twice, what impact did it have on your work and life?
Shahnewaz Khan: I wanted to see myself as one of the 20 photographers. To be honest, I wanted to see myself as one of the photographers. I had confidence in my series but I needed an opportunity; growing up I didn’t have any opportunity to show my work more and more. I had a dream that my pictures could change the lives of the people in the community.
Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.