DEBUTS 2018: Jurors’ Picks

Taken from the Behind the Scenes series

Taken from the Behind the Scenes series

Sergey Melnitchenko (Ukraine), Jordan Gale (USA), Anna T. Pfeiffer, and Ewa Doroszenko (both from Poland) have been selected by the DEBUTS jurors as their personal picks from the group of 20 winners of this year’s edition of the project awarding the most talented emerging photographers in the world.

One of the novelties of this year’s edition of DEBUTS is a personal pick by each juror. The members of the jury were asked to chose one submission they considered the best. Sergey Melnichenko from Ukraine, whose application was indicated by two jurors: Elviera Velghe, director of the Museum of Photography in Antwerp (Belgium), and Peter Bauza, a photographer-documentalist from Germany, can be considered the greatest DEBUTS laureate. Here is what they wrote in their justifications:

“The submission by Sergey Melnichenko is my personal favourite because the quality of each photo project is very high. The three projects are three times different. But it proofs to me that the photographer may vary, but still keeps his skills on top. The projects overwhelmed me by their atmosphere that grabs me by the throat. Every project shows a high original potential with beautiful, rich photography. In ‘Behind the Scenes’ the photographer gets us an insight of an emotional aspect of burlesque theatre. It is very intimate; gorgeous photos with extremal colours and contrasts. Even though the theme of ‘Passengers’ is not complicated, the photos keep stuck in my memory. In the last project ‘Polaroids from China Part II Monochromes’ every photo is a piece of art. I love the way the photographer approaches a topic with an adjusted photographic style. Sergey has a sharp photographic eye, sensitive enough to get the composition right, the contrasts good and excellent narrative photos.” (Elviera Velghe)

Taken from the Polaroids from China: Part II - Monochromes series

Taken from the Polaroids from China: Part II – Monochromes series

“It was not easy to review, score, and then narrow down all the many brilliant entries, with a high standard. But among the many impressive submissions for the DEBUTS contest this year, the artist of ‘Behind the Scenes,’ ‘Passengers’ and ‘Polaroids’ was able to maintain a style, a story, and a narrative. Sergey Melnichenko has a bright and above-average language and is able to express his emotions and feelings.” (Peter Bauza)

Sarker Protick, photographer and World Press Photo winner from Bangladesh, has recognised submission by Anna Pfeiffer, a Polish citizen living in Italy, as his favourite one. He wrote about it:

“An approach of Anna Pfeiffer to photography is smart, intelligent and playful at the same time. I am impressed by the quality of her portfolio which consists of three different projects, all having an effort to reinvent from one another while still having a strong personal attachment to the subject matters. These body of works also has interesting possibilities to present in many different forms of book and exhibitions.”

Taken from the Braids, Red Curtains and That Walk in the Park series

Taken from the Braids, Red Curtains and That Walk in the Park series

The favourite of Isabella van Marle of the Unseen Amsterdam festival is another Pole – Ewa Doroszenko. In her justification one can read:

“I have chosen Ewa Doroszenko’s proposal as my favourite because it was the most outstanding and surprising one. I find it very clever how the photographer translates criticism on society in an artistic manner. The projects are reflecting on the meaning of images in the digital age. New technologies such as virtual reality and beauty apps are shifting our perception of what nature and beauty are. The proposal has a clear message and is creatively constructed. ‘The Promise of Sublime Words’ is my aesthetical favourite.”

Taken from The Promise of Sublime Words series

Taken from The Promise of Sublime Words series

The DEBUTS originator and editor-in-chief of doc! photo magazine quarterly, Grzegorz Kosmala, pointed to the application of Jordan Gale from the USA, about which he wrote:

“I am very impressed by the applications for this year’s edition of DEBUTS. Choosing the one was really difficult. My favourite is Jordan Gale, who although submitted only one project, delighted me with the sincerity of speech and the way of conducting his narrative. It takes a lot of courage to talk about yourself and your loved ones in this way, especially when their past is marked by dark episodes. The more I appreciate the fact that Jordan has allowed us into his world. His project is not only a story about the family, but also a picture of the contemporary American province.”

Taken from the It Is What It Is series

Taken from the It Is What It Is series

The laureates of the fifth edition of DEBUTS are: Kirsten Leah Bitzer (USA), Michele Crameri (Switzerland), Ilaria Di Biagio (Italy), Ewa Doroszenko (Poland), Jean-Félix Fayolle (France), Jordan Gale (USA), Ilias Georgiadis (Greece), Mirek Kaźmierczak (Poland), Paweł Łączny (Poland), Raj Lalwani (India), Camille Lévêque (France), Sergey Melnitchenko (Ukraine), Filippo M. Nicoletti (Italy), Valentyn Odnoviun (Lithuania), Anna T. Pfeiffer (Poland/Italy), Natalia Poniatowska (Poland/United Kingdom), Sergey Stroitelev (Russia), Gihan Tubbeh (Peru), Federico Vespignani (Italy), and Adam Wilkoszarski (Poland).

The first presentation of works of all DEBUTS winners and the premiere of the book will take place traditionally during the International Festival of Photography FOTOFESTIWAL in Łódź (Poland), which starts on June 21 and will last until July 1, 2018.

Winners of DEBUTS 2018 Announced!


It is a pleasure to announce names of 20 photographers who have been recognised by the DEBUTS 2018 jury as the most talented emerging photographers of the year and invited to the book and travelling exhibition, shown exclusively during the photographic events.

The DEBUTS 2018 winners are (in alphabetical order):

  • Kirsten Bitzer (USA)
  • Michele Crameri (Switzerland)
  • Ilaria Di Biagio (Italy)
  • Ewa Doroszenko (Poland)
  • Jean-Felix Fayolle (France)
  • Jordan Gale (USA)
  • Ilias Georgiadis (Greece)
  • Mirek Kaźmierczak (Poland)
  • Paweł Łączny (Poland)
  • Raj Lalwani (India)
  • Camille Leveque (France)
  • Sergey Melnitchenko (Ukraine)
  • Filippo Nicoletti (Italy)
  • Valentyn Ondoviun (Lithuania)
  • Anna Pfeiffer (Italy)
  • Natalia Poniatowska (United Kingdom)
  • Sergey Stroitelev (Russia)
  • Gihan Tubbeh (Peru)
  • Federico Vespignani (Italy)
  • Adam Wilkoszarski (Poland)


The first public presentation of the winners and their projects will take place this June (more information to come).

Four of the listed above photographers have also been picked out by the jurors, who this year’s were Peter Bauza (Germany), Grzegorz Kosmala (Poland), Isabella van Marle (the Netherlands), Sarker Protick (Bangladesh), and Elviera Velghe (Belgium), as their personal choice. Their names and the jurors’ justifications will be presented next week.

Stay tuned!

The 2016 FotoEvidence Book Award goes to Daniella Zalcman

© Daniella Zalcman_2

FotoEvidence, a platform for documentary photographers whose work focuses on social justice and human rights, announced that photojournalist Daniella Zalcman will receive the 2016 FotoEvidence Book Award and that a book of her project – Signs of Your Identity - will be published by FotoEvidence this year.

Signs of Your Identity documents stories of indigenous Canadians who were placed in boarding schools run by the Church in order to force their assimilation into the dominant culture. The Indian Residential School system was created by the Canadian government in the 1840s.

“Attendance was mandatory, and Indian Agents would regularly visit reserves to take children as young as 2 or 3 from their communities. Many of them wouldn’t see their families again for the next decade” – says Daniella Zalcman. – “Students were punished for speaking their native languages or observing any indigenous traditions, routinely physically and sexually assaulted, and in some extreme instances subjected to medical experimentation and sterilisation. The last residential school didn’t close until 1996. The Canadian government issued its first formal apology in 2008. The lasting impact on Canada’s indigenous population is immeasurable and grotesque. At least 6,000 children died while in the system and those who did survive, deprived of their families and their own cultural identities, became part of a series of lost generations. Languages died out, sacred ceremonies were criminalised and suppressed. The Canadian government has officially termed the residential school system a cultural genocide.”

© Daniella Zalcman_1

Zalcman uses double exposure portraits to portray her subjects. These multiple exposure portraits juxtaposes survivors who are still fighting to overcome the memories of their residential school experiences, with the sites where those schools once stood, government documents that enforced strategic assimilation and places where, even today, First Nations people struggle to access services that should be available to all Canadians.

© Daniella Zalcman_3

Daniella Zalcman is an award-winning photojournalist based in London (UK) and New York City (NY, USA). Her work has been published in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Time, Sports Illustrated and CNN, among others. She is a multiple grantee of the Pulitzer Centre on Crisis Reporting. Her photographs have been exhibited throughout the US and Europe and are part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. She graduated from Columbia University in 2009 with a degree in Architecture.

The jury also selected four finalists who will be exhibited with Daniella Zalcman at the 2016 FotoEvidence Book Award Exhibit in New York in November of 2016 when Signs of Your Identity will be released as book. The finalists include:

© Narciso Contreras

Narciso Contreras for Yemen: the Forgotten War where an intervention by Saudi Arabia against a Houthi insurgency has internally displaced nearly 1.4 million people, killed more than 6,000, shutdown hospitals and left 21 million people in need of dire humanitarian assistance. With virtually no media coverage, Yemen’s war is not only a forgotten war, but for many it is also an unknown war.

© Mario Cruz

Mario Cruz for Talibes, Modern Day Slaves documents the conditions faced by young boys in Senegal sent or sold to “teachers” who promise education but instead turn their charges into beggars collecting money on the streets. The boys are often kept in harsh conditions, chained, beaten and forced to beg. Their education mainly focused on memorising passages from the Koran.

© Hossein Fatemi

Hossein Fatemi for An Iranian Journey which documents Iran’s complex society, lifting the veil on some of the less observed areas of daily life, showing the conflicts that arise between the official version of Iranian life promoted by the authorities and the reality of daily life for Iran’s youth, struggling to find an identity in a fast moving, ever changing world. Daily, millions of young people engage in activities that are officially illegal and can carry severe penalties. While the government likes to think of Iranian society as a monolithic unit occupying the moral high ground in stark contrast with a degenerate, immoral West, the reality of daily life in the Islamic Republic is one which bears all the hallmarks of a modern hybrid with all the usual problems and vices.

© Ingetje Tadros

Ingetje Tadros for This is My Country that looks at conditions for indigenous Australians, whose communities are mismanaged by their governments, are not fully understood by the wider aid community and are largely invisible to most of Australian society. A voiceless and unseen minority consigned to lives of quiet desolation.

The Wrzesnia Collection part 6

Dariusz Pyka. Taken from the 'Capital, the Wrzesnia Collection 2014' project. © Katarzyna Majak

Dariusz Pyka. Taken from the ‘Capital. The Wrzesnia Collection 2014′ project. © Katarzyna Majak

Initiated in 2009 on the initiative of Waldemar Śliwczyński, the Wrzesnia Collection is a photographic archive of Wrzesnia, showing the “current state” of the city and its residents filtered through sensibility of one creator. Every year one photographer is invited to Wrzesnia to create his or her original photographic project. The author has a total creative freedom in the topic, the way it is presented and used photographic technique. Each project ends with exhibition and photo book, that create a unique collection of photography in Poland. The collection already includes projects by Bogdan Konopka (cd! #3; 2009), Andrzej Jerzy Lech (2010), Mariusz Forecki (2011), Nicolas Grospierre (2012) and Zbigniew Tomaszczuk (2013).

Taken from the 'Capital, The Wrzesnia Collection 2014' © Katarzyna Majak

Taken from the ‘Capital. The Wrzesnia Collection 2014′ © Katarzyna Majak

The next part of the Wrzesnia Collection has been prepared by Katarzyna Majak who was invited to Wrzesnia in 2014. Majak’s project – Capital – consists of two parts. The first one includes a series of contemporary portraits of people participating in the late documentary photographer from Wrzesnia – Ireneusz Zjeżdżałka – who in 2001 executed the project No Atelier. The second part of the Majak’s Capital project is formed by landscape shots of the areas under preparatory works for the construction of a new Volkswagen factory. The 6th part of the Wrzesnia Collection will be presented this Friday.

Opening of the exhibition @ Wrzesnia’s Main Square: June 12 at 5:00 PM. The exhibition will be open to the public until August 31, 2015.
Premiere of the photo book and meeting with the author @ the Wrzesnia Children Regional Museum (13 Wrzesnia Children St., Wrzesnia, Poland): June 12 at 5:45 PM.

Launch of Photobook Club Poland

© Paper Beats Rock

© Paper Beats Rock

Paper Beats Rock launches Photobook Club Poland, the Poland’s first place entirely dedicated to photobooks. Its opening will take place during the 2015 Fotofestiwal Lodz. Your book may contribute to this unique collection!

If you submit your book, it will be reachable by hundreds of eyes hungry for visual experiences. It will be presented in Poland and internationally, everywhere where Paper Beats Rock will come.

You can submit physically existing photobooks, zines, dummies, papers; hand-made, limited and short-run treasures, as well as commercial publications and sketches. There are no limits for number of submissions.

Materials should be sent by mail, courier or delivered in person. You will receive all necessary information when completing the submission form @ Read the rules carefully, because you accept them by registering your application.

Submission deadline: May 17th 2015 (date of postmark counts)
Opening: Art_Inkubator (3 Tymieniecki St., Lodz, Poland) on May 28,  2015 at 6:00 PM

More info @ &

And in case of further questions, contact Paper Beats Rock directly:


© Ksenia Tsykunova

© Ksenia Tsykunova

Join the 3rd edition of Eastreet, a unique project dedicated to street and documentary photography of Eastern Europe. The open call for submissions lasts until April 27, 2015. Don’t miss it!

The exhibition presenting the best Eastern European’s street photography will be open in Lublin (Poland) on July 10, 2015. The photographs will provide a closer look at human presence in public spaces of Eastern Europe, through the unposed and spontaneous photos documenting unique moments, ideas or symbols. They will help to describe the region, to look at it beyond stereotypes, borders, and differences, to show its current state and qualities. Next to the exhibition, the project will also publish a book presenting all the selected photographs together with their authors’ bios.

As by the previous editions, the Eastreet 3 exhibition will travel around the world.

More info @

Eastreet 3 is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.

DEBUTS 2015 jury – Grzegorz Kosmala

© Mirosław Kania

© Mirosław Kania

Grzegorz Kosmala – based in Warsaw (Poland) | founder, publisher, and editor-in-chief of two online magazines dedicated to contemporary documentary (doc! photo magazine) and fine art (contra doc!) photography | originator of the DEBUTS project | juror in international photo contests | coordinator of the 7th and 8th editions of BZ WBK Press Foto, one of the Poland’s largest press photography contests | graduated from the Media Management and International Relations and Diplomacy faculties at the Nowy Sacz School of Business.

DEBUTS 2015 jury – Ron Haviv

© John Stanmeyer | VII

© John Stanmeyer | VII

Ron Haviv – based in New York City (NY, USA) | an Emmy nominated and award-winning photojournalist | co-founder of the VII Photo agency | author of 3 monographs – Blood and Honey: A Balkan War Journal, (called “One of the best non-fiction books of the year,” by The Los Angeles Times and “A chilling but vastly important record of a people’s suffering,” by Newsweek), Afghanistan: The Road to Kabul, and Haiti: 12 January 2010. | has produced a record of the injustices of war | his work in the Balkans, which spanned over a decade of conflict, was used as evidence to indict and convict war criminals at the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague | President H.W. George Bush cited his photographs documenting paramilitary violence in Panama as one of the reasons for the 1989 American intervention | central character in 6 documentary films, including National Geographic Explorer’s Freelance in a World of Risk | has provided expert analysis and commentary on ABC World News, BBC, CNN, NPR, MSNBC, NBC Nightly News, Good Morning America, and The Charlie Rose Show.

DEBUTS 2015 jury – Francesco Zizola

© Leo Carbotta

© Leo Carbotta

Francesco Zizola – based in Rome (Italy) | an Italian photojournalist and a founding member of Noor Images agency (doc! #7, pp. 33-75) | has documented the world’s major conflicts and their hidden crisis, focusing on the social and humanitarian issues that define life in the developing world as well as in western countries | his pictures characterize with a strong ethical commitment and a distinctive aesthetic eye | his assignments and personal projects have taken him around the world, giving him the opportunity to carefully portray forgotten crises and relevant issues often disregarded by the mainstream media | founder of 10b Photography, a multipurpose centre for digital photography promoting photography culture through exhibitions, workshops, and lectures | has received several awards, e.g. 9 awards in World Press Photo contests (including World Press Photo of the Year 1996) and 4 Picture of the Year International awards (POYi) | has published 7 books.

DEBUTS 2015 jury – Luca Desienna

© Luca Desienna

© Luca Desienna

Luca Desienna – based in London (United Kingdom) | director of Gomma Books Ltd., a bijou publishing house specialising in high-quality collectible photo books, incl. MONO – a trilogy showcasing the best contemporary B&W photographers | art director of Gomma Magazine | juror of the Gomma Photography Grant | an award-winning photographer (3rd place winner at PX3, 1st prize winner at Simulacrum Photo Contest, an official selection at the 2011 Voies Off, and a honourable mention at Lens Culture Exposure Awards, among others) | shortlisted for the prestigious European Publishers Award for Photography with the upcoming book My Dearest Javanese Concubine | took part at the renowned PhotoVoice Auction in London | has exhibited throughout Europe and has taken part in numerous art fairs and collective exhibitions.