World Press Photo
Soviet Award Winners - 1956-1991
The Art Gallery at Houston Community College, Central Campus
1300 Holman, Houston, Texas
|Yuri Belinskiy, Best Friends. From reporting on the everyday life of famous clown
Mikhail Rumyantsev (known as Caran'd'ashe), Leningrad, 1977
Second Prize, Miscellaneous 1977
Within the professional photojournalistic world, World Press Photo has created a special and highly respected position for itself as the most prestigious platform for the recognition of top photographs produced for mass media every year. Formed in 1955 by Dutch photojournalists,
World Press Photo (WPP) sponsors an annual international competition and yearbook of award winners as well as professional workshops and a traveling exhibition program. The juries for World Press Photo competitions are composed of leading picture editors, publishers and experts from international media across the world and publications such as Time, Paris Match, Stern, New York Times, Financial Times, and Izvestia as well as agencies such as TASS, RIA Novosti, Associated Press and Reuters.
When it started in 1955, the first WPP jury came from Western European countries—West Germany, United Kingdom, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. A year later, a representative from the “eastern bloc,” socialistcommunist countries of east-central Europe and the Soviet Union, was added to the WPP jury. The first Soviet juror was named in the early 1960s. “Throughoutthe Cold War both Russians and Americans sat on the jury—their votes usually balancing each other out.”
“A photo that makes it to WPP is, above all, a piece of history, a history of an event... The works of Soviet photographers were subjected to strict censorship... Participation in WPP in the Soviet years was a highly bureaucratized procedure, with pictures from across the country being first brought to the photo department of the Union of Journalists in Moscow.” In addition to this process, many Soviet photographers were never informed that their work had been submitted to WPP or the results of WPP judging. Few were able to leave the Soviet Union to take part in WPP award ceremonies in the Netherlands or network with their peers from abroad. Very little of the history of Soviet-Russian participation in World Press Photo was known in Russia.
Not surprisingly when the recently completed exhibition and publication Grand Prix in Russian, Album of Photographs by Russian and Soviet Winners of World Press Photo 1955–2010
, curated by Vasily Prudnikov, director of RUSS
PRESS PHOTO, had its public grand opening in Moscow in late 2011, the impact was strong. From the beginning, strong media and public promotion for the event had been made by the Russian International Information and News Agency RIA Novosti because so many Russian WPP winners had been staff of RIA Novosti.
|Gennady Koposov, Minus 55 degrees Centigrade, Evenkia, USSR, 1964
First Prize, Features, 1964
With this exhibition, not only the Russian general public, but also professional photojournalists and press experts in Russia saw, for the first time, award-winning images made by Soviet colleagues in the years prior to Perestroika. The exhibition also demonstrated the longevity of Soviet participation in an internationally respected global platform for photojournalism. The impact was particularly strong because so many of the images had been made and submitted during the Cold War period and in the late 1950s–1970s with the on-again off-again repression of Soviet mass media and culture. For many Russians, the exhibition was a new insight into the history of Soviet-Russian press photography and its connections to important historical events in Russia. From 1956 to 2010, eighty-nine Soviet and Russian photographers took part in World Press Photo competitions and 113 medals were awarded to Soviet and Russian photojournalists.
There are 55 award winners featured in the exhibition:
The selection of these works was made by FotoFest 2012 Biennial Russian Curators Evgeny Berezner, Irina Chmyreva and Natalia Tarasova. The presentation of photographs from Grand Prix in Russian
in Houston at the FotoFest 2012 Biennial was made possible by The Russian International Information and News Agency RIA Novosti, RUSS PRESS PHOTOS, Cultural Project and CANON Ru, LLC. with support from Gazprom Export Ltd. FotoFest thanks Houston Community College, Central Campus for hosting the exhibition from this World Press Photo project for the FotoFest 2012 Biennial.
| Yuri Ivanov
Workers take their gripes to the top. The Director and Head
Engineer listen, explain and take notes. This type of meeting called Letuchka.
Minsk Fine-Cloth Combine, 1987. Honorable Mention, Daily Life, 1987
| Boris Yurchenko,
At the center of attention, again. Andrey Gromyko, Head
of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet, Moscow, during the voting
for his removal from his post. His post was transferred to Mikhail
Gorbachev. It was the beginning of Gorbachev’s rise, 1988
First Prize, People in the News, 1988
| Anatoly Iolis
From the series Female Prison -1. Correctional Labor Colony
for Juvenile Female Offenders.1989
Third Prize, Daily Life Stories, 1989
From the series It is a Civil War. Christmas was Red, with
Blood. The Soviet Republic of Georgia Declared its Independence, Tbilisi. 1991
First Prize, Spot News Stories, 1991
| Sergei Preobrazhensky
Tu-144, new aircraft at the airport in Moscow, 1969
World Press Diploma of 1969