Under the auspices of the Russian Geographic Society, National Geographic Russia magazine held its first national photography contest from May 1 to Oct. 1, 2011. The results of the contest were announced on Nov. 2, 2011, at the opening of an exhibition by the same name.
Russian Geographic Society president Sergei Shoigu greeted the assembled guests. He noted that it had been extremely difficult to choose the winners, in part because Russia is so rich in breathtaking scenery. Shoigu expressed admiration for the photographers’ talent and pointed out that many had started out as hunters, only to later learn the art of nature photography — a positive trend.
Shoigu announced that the Russian Geographic Society had decided to create a calendar for 2012 displaying the best of the contestants’ work. He also expressed the wish that this would become an annual competition so as to help the Russian Geographic Society approach the popularity and print circulation enjoyed by National Geographic.
At the request of the evening’s hostess, Anastasia Chernobrovina, Shoigu commented on a collection of his own photographs on display at the exhibition — in particular, four landscapes, three of which were shot in the Khakasia republic and one in the Krasnoyarsk region. Shoigu explained that the photos were taken in hard-to-reach locations, including the filming site of the famous Soviet-era film “Don’t Set Traps for the Devil.” He added that he had made the photos exclusively for himself, and not with the goal of entering them in a contest.
National Geographic Society (USA) vice president Julie Boyle thanked the talented photographers and announced that National Geographic is prepared to hold similar exhibitions in other Russian cities. National Geographic Russia editor-in-chief Alexander Grek expressed his conviction that the contest co-sponsored by the two organizations would open up new photographic talent not only for Russia, but for the world.
The contest results and the winning photos are posted on the Russian Geographic Society Internet portal. First prize went to Alexei Bezrukov for his photo titled “Morning for Fifi,” and the Russian Geographic Society awarded a special prize to Sergei Ivanov for his photo titled “A Shower from Mama.”
Special Travel Club general director Alexei Mironov awarded the top prize on behalf of the Russian Geographic Society: a place for the contest winner in the expedition to Franz Josef Land (abbreviated to ZFI by Russian polar scientists) that begins on July 28, 2012. The expedition will include several landings on wild shores and studies of the natural environment and historical landmarks. Depending on the approach to the shore, the landings will be made using either inflatable rafts or two helicopters based aboard the Captain Dranitsyn icebreaker.
Alexei Mironov also noted that ZFI is the Russian equivalent of Antarctica, the main staging ground for attempts on the North Pole. He urged participants to take the expedition quite seriously, reminding them that the island holds the memory of failed attempts to conquer the pole such as the ill-fated expedition of Georgy Sedov.
Photos: Darya Shlykova (top) and Yaroslav Nikitin.