Brussels (B), 8 October 2009.
I am proud to see that Europe’s youth picture what they feel all of us as Europeans need to improve or change. They are very engaged and critical, they do observe the world around them and they use their artistic talents to bring this message to us.
Last summer, young people from regions across Europe were asked to submit photos on three different topics. One of the six members of the independent jury, Nabeelah Shabbir, editor-in-chief and image editor at Café Babel, noted: “These are very difficult themes to find good images. But I was warmly surprised by the quality. Entrants took initiative and saw beyond the aesthetic values of the images they captured. I enjoyed how some dared to cross the borders of originality, and even the ones who were inspired by more classic themes allowed the look to linger on an image and the imagination to be stretched.”
Vincent Beeckman, coordinator for social-artistic projects and photography at Recyclart, said “the portraits and the atmospheres captured were both innermost and current for some aspects, and very anchored to our Europe’s reality for others. Participants’ talent for images expressed in magnificent portraits and superb landscapes. A very nice panel of different horizons from different photographers coming from all over Europe!”
Arno Fougeres, international photographer, opined that “the pictures highlighted a great variety of identities, the expression of a wide diversity of point of views, the pointing out of many factors hindering integration processes, and nonetheless a clear optimism and strive for a future with a wider conscience of the other and where unity and respect play a major role.”
Winners of the first edition of AER “Snapshot: Europe!” photo competition:
Kai Löffelbein, Niedersachsen Region (D) – “With my photos I try to express the feelings of the immigrants arriving in Europe, hoping to stay and begin a new life in security and with satisfied basic needs. Very often immigrants live here in Europe in illegalised or insecure position for several years, fearing to be sent back ‘home’.”
Title: Very quiet here
Author’s description: The photo was taken during a naturalisation in Berlin-Neukölln. This day is very important for the migrants because now they are becoming full citizens of the country. But are these people really welcomed in Germany? A executive sets his chop quietly on a document, that’s all. The naturalisation stays an act of bureaucracy.
Category 2: European identity? Values, diversity and cultural dialogue.
Indre Zdanciute, Vilnius (LT) – “When travelling to different countries I slowly discover the art and fun of photography. I am inspired by people, their emotions, but also by colours and unusual frames. I think that amateur photographers should be not only sensitive, but also curious.”
Title: Two girls kissing history
Author’s description: It all happened during the Vevcani Mask festival in Struga, FYR Macedonia, where the leadership and charisma of the former Yugoslav leader Tito is still alive. Two girls in masks (Lithuanian, Macedonian) kissing a happy guy dressed as Tito show tolerance as well as respect for cultural diversity, other nations and different ages.
Category 3: Europe tomorrow: sustainable development, ecology, environment.
Miroslav Argalas, Zilinsky Region (SK) – “I like walking with an open heart and catching the moments in pictures. I come from a small town called Dolny Kubin in North Slovakia, where the beauty of nature keeps me outside on walks. The camera is my best friend – I take it with me wherever I go and for whatever I do.”
Title: After the big storm
Author’s description: The High Tratas Park used to be full of green trees and was very popular with tourists because of its natural, untouched look. However, in November 2004 a strong windstorm destroyed this Slovak pride. The picture was taken in June 2008 and shows the impact of the catastrophe. It just cannot be erased or returned. We should be aware that climate change can radically change our environment.
AER “Snapshot: Europe!” photo competition in brief:
Young participants had the chance to communicate their very personal perspective on contemporary topics and display their talent. Moreover, they had the possibility of presenting their regions to other young people from across Europe. The competition was open to young people aged 18 to 30 years, active in their regions or involved in AER youth activities such as the Youth Regional Network or Youth Team. Over 160 photos from 44 European regions and 21 countries were received.
The photos will be on display until October 15th, at Espace Wallonie à Bruxelles (25-27 rue du Marché-aux-Herbes, 1000 Bruxelles)
For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org