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Ukrainian Association of Professional Photographers opposed to Russian jury at World Press Photo 2024

by Kateryna Hodunova January 15, 2024 5:51 PM 2 min read
Maria Gelman. (World Press Photo 2024)
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The Ukrainian Association of Professional Photographers (UAPP) on Jan. 13 called to exclude Russian Maria Gelman from the World Press Photo 2024 jury.

The World Press Photo is an annual contest for professional photographers in photojournalism and documentary photography. An international independent jury selects the best pieces in global and regional nominations.

Russian Gelman appears to be one of the five European juries, joining English-Swedish photojournalist Anastasia Taylor-Lind, the German senior picture editor of the Stern magazine, Andreas Trampe, the Swiss director of photography of the Neue Zurcher Zeitung newspaper, Gilles Steinmann, and British photography curator Mariama Attah.

According to the UAPP, Ukrainian photographers will also participate in the 2024 contest.

“The UAPP considers the participation of Gelman as irrational, and it could also influence the objectivity of the decision-making process during the evaluation of the works,” the Ukrainian association wrote in its official statement.

“Since 2014, Russia’s unprovoked, aggressive, cruel, and unjust war in Ukraine has been going on, and we assume that the participation of the Russian Federation representative Maria Gelman brings up many ethical questions,” the UAPP said.

The Ukrainian photographer Valentyn Kuzan, the UAPP member, pointed out in his Facebook post on Jan. 14 that Gelman has not covered Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“Have you thought about a Russian photographer evaluating photos of the war in Ukraine? Is it ethical enough, especially when talking about photos of the Ukrainian authors?” he said.

Gelman’s photos from Yalta, the city in occupied Crimea, were published in the Russian-language outlet Bird in Flight. The article is from 2015, and according to Ukrainian law, foreigners were allowed to enter Crimea only through the checkpoints from the Ukrainian-controlled side of the administrative border with Russian-occupied Crimea. Gelman has not mentioned how she got to Yalta.

Ukrainian photographer Evgeniy Maloletka is a World Press Photo 2023 winner for his “The Siege of Mariupol” photo series. He covered the extensive damage of the missile attack on March 9, 2022, on Mariupol’s maternity hospital, mass graves, and casualties of the Russian Armed Forces’ shelling.

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Ukraine’s authors should have been able to dedicate their lives to honing their craft. Instead, many of them have stepped up to contribute to the war effort and fight back against Russian aggression. Like any other member of society, Ukrainian authors have lost loved ones and colleagues to Russia’

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