Online photography exhibition

BEARR 30th Anniversary Photography Competition: Side by Side

June 2021

To celebrate 30 years of building connections and mutual support within Eastern Europe and Central Asia (the EECA region), BEARR organised a photography competition on the theme “Side by Side“ in May-June 2021. Photographers were invited to submit photos celebrating community spirit, particularly following over a year of upheaval in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many of the photos submitted highlight the struggles faced by marginalised groups such as migrants, young people, and those with illnesses and disabilities, amongst others, and how individuals have rallied together to support one another during the pandemic. The theme “Side by Side” also reflected BEARR’s support for civil society organisations (CSOs) within the EECA region and the mutual learning this fosters, as well as the support provided by CSOs to vulnerable people in their communities.

Our judging panel was made up of Nadia Beard, Editor-in-Chief of The Calvert Journal; ex-BBC Diplomatic Correspondent and BEARR Patron Bridget Kendall MBE; and two award-winning photographers, Jadwiga Bronte and Emma Brown. The judges looked for uplifting and creative takes on the theme and prizes were awarded under three categories: a) main category; b) photos of/from the EECA region, and c) photos by photographers aged 18-years-old or under. As well as picking a winner and a runner-up in each category, a total of 24 photos were chosen to feature in our online and future in-person exhibitions.

The winners were announced in an online prize giving on 16 June attended by the judges and entrants, as well as by BEARR’s trustees, patrons, grantees and others. Judges praised the high-quality of the submissions and emphasised how tough their job was. We received over 100 photos from more than 60 entrants. Submissions came from all over the world – from Europe to India, Malaysia, and across the EECA region – and were submitted by young budding photographers, people in BEARR’s network, and both volunteers and beneficiaries of the CSOs which BEARR has supported. The vast majority were photos depicting or from the EECA region, which is reflected in the proportion of photos from this category in the final exhibition.

We hope you enjoy the photos and look forward to sharing them with you in person at an exhibition in London, once Covid-19 restrictions allow!

Warm wishes,
The BEARR Trust

Main category


Arpan Basu Chowdury, India

“Together We Can”

‘A healthcare worker gives an ATS injection to a pregnant woman at her clinic on the remote island of Sunderban, India. Reaching across the hospital bed to maintain social distancing measures, her face is concealed by swathes of silken yellow fabric fashioned into a face mask. The makeshift PPE is a visual reminder of the struggles healthcare workers face in rural settings. Here, boats are the only form of transportation, and deliveries of supplies are irregular. As one of only three nurses on the island charged with serving the diverse health needs of the 20,000 strong population, innovation is essential’.

Sunderban Island, India.


Abdulrahman Adriano, Egypt

“It’s Fun Because We’re Together”

‘Young fishermen enjoying their lunch break with a quick dip’.

Daqahliya, Egypt.

EECA category


Nadezhda Areshina, Russia


Children together with their parents and grandmother in the hayfield. While the head of the family is
working, the children spend time in the open field alongside their mother and grandmother. Next to their
tent they have built a table upon which they put out the food they brought from home’.

Altai Republic, Russia. 2020.


Elena Siretanu, Moldova


‘The pandemic affected not only the economy, but also our relationships and the way we interact with each other. This is a photo of a couple from Moldova who graduated from school in 2020 and ponder what they should do next – leave the country, like so many others, or stay’.

Moldova, Straseni.

18-years-old and under category


Mariam Sharashenidze, Georgia, 18-years-old


‘Here you see a woman wearing a man’s military clothing. Despite being a woman in a traditionally male role, she shows solidarity and spirit, doing her part for the country and for those out trying to sustain, fight and protect the country’.



Isabel Birt, UK, 18-years-old

“Girls at the steam fair”

‘I took this photograph on a film camera at a local steam fair. It gives a family-friendly feel, as well as being uplifting and creating a happy atmosphere’.

United Kingdom.

Exhibition photos

Barry Paul Horrell, UK – Main Category

“Individually isolated from within, from the outside…”

Nottinghamshire, 2019-20.

Liyana Amira Binti Salleh, Malaysia – Main Category

“All Grandmas are the Same”

‘Indigenous people often face difficulties assimilating with other local communities, either as a result of governmental pressures and a lack of support or because of their unique way of life. But no matter who you are or where you are in the world, all grandmothers are the same. They will always be proud of you and will show you off to anyone watching. The face of this grandma, from the Batek tribe in Malaysia, is bursting with love and pride’.


Arthur Novosiltsev, Russia – EECA Category


‘Police officers in a deserted Red Square’.

March 2020.

Katya Churbakova, Russia – EECA Category

“Kira and Ira”

‘On the island of Valaam, in the Republic of Karelia, lies one of the largest male Orthodox monasteries in Russia. Volunteers visit every year to help the monastery with various financial matters. This portrait is one from a long-term project in which I explore the lives and relationships of the monastery’s residents and those of the island. Many visit Valaam in search of support when they are struggling. Kira and Ira met while volunteering and became close friends. The have been regularly volunteering at the monastery together for several years now.’

Valaam Island, Republic of Karelia, Russia.

Nadezhda Areshina, Russia – EECA Category

Untitled. Gulchehra, Adema, Rayana, Amina, Adelina, and Medina.

‘Preparing for a wedding ritual with the Kazakhs – «zavodiny». The families of three brothers gather at their parents’ house to prepare a festive table. While the adults prepare food, the children play.

Kosh-Agach village, Altai Republic. 2021.

Alexander Anufriev, Russia – EECA Category.

From Alexander’s “New Moscow” series

‘In 2016, I moved to a residential complex on the outskirts of Moscow. Photography has become my way of adjusting to this new reality. I was interested in the first inhabitants of this ‘new city’; full of hope for the future – a future which is being built alongside multi-storey complexes. I walked around this new Moscow, looking for my protagonists and trying to locate the starting point of the new life of the immigrants, of whom I was one. I tried to capture the state of ongoing construction; a state which would continue in this district for over a year.’


Alexander Anufriev, Russia – EECA Category.

From Alexander’s “New Moscow” series. Moscow.

Maksatbek Osmonaliev, Kyrgyzstan – EECA Category

“Gulsara washes the dishes with her son tied to her back”

‘As well as her son, who has cerebral palsy, Gulsara has three more children. Their house is full of worries. Gulsara goes to bed later than everyone and gets up earlier. When she needs to do housework, Gyulsara ties her son to her back and goes about her daily errands. She cannot leave her son alone, or he will start crying. Gulsara says that he was born prematurely, and she thinks that this helped to cause his illness.’

Poltavka village, Chui region. Kyrgyzstan.

Natalia Gorshkova, Russia – EECA Category​


‘Here the ‘Shans’ wheelchair basketball team (Tyumen Region) train at a sports centre in the Tyumen Region. They are preparing for an all-Russian wheelchair basketball tournament in 2019. People often turn to God and faith in times of trouble. With some self-belief, they can find the courage to start things over. Those struggling immerse themselves in sports, social activity, work or creativity for comfort and solace. Occasionally, a new wheelchair member joins the club quite by chance. An experienced player might spot a disabled person in the street and invite him along – players try to help others, not just themselves, to find strength through team sport’.

Tyumen region, Russia. September 2019.

Tatiana Nadyseva, Russia  – EECA category

“Of young girls”

‘During my trip to Southeast Asia what surprised me most was how interconnected people and nature were. In the rural areas I visited, it felt as though time were frozen and people continued living just like their ancestors had done for centuries. While the government continues to fail them, people stand shoulder to shoulder with one another and with nature, relying on it as an old friend and provider’.


Anastasia Nelen, Russia – EECA category

“Tuvan Union Army”

‘Thanks to the establishment of youth associations in the Tuva Republic, children are able to travel beyond their villages and the steppe, and lead an active social life, which is usually very difficult under the conditions in which nomadic people live. This photo was taken at the opening of the Tunnug archaeological expedition, where Tuvan Union Army students demonstrated their training and skills’.

Tuva Republic, Russia.

David Saveliev, Russia – EECA category


‘A vigil in honour of the murdered Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov. I tried to capture the solemnity of the moment coupled with a shared sense of community amongst the mourners, who come to honour Nemtsov every year’.

Moscow. February 2021.

Joe Dibble, UK – Main Category


‘I was struck by the similarities of these two schoolboys in uniform, height and age. The notable difference is that one wears shoes and socks. It is that boy that shares his packet of treats with the other, drawing them closer together’.

New Hampi, India.

Tatiana Nadyseva, Russia  – EECA Category


‘Nurbek is one of approximately 30 eagle hunters in Kyrgyzstan and sees himself as a traditional keeper. The nomads who roamed the Central Asian steppes began to tame birds of prey thousands of years ago. Nurbek usually hunts for rabbits, wolves, foxes, and deer. Eagles become friends for hunters, and stand shoulder to shoulder with one another.’


Maksatbek Osmonaliev, Kyrgyzstan – EECA Category

“Zhibek with her four-year-old son Kairat”

‘”Higher, higher and higher I will raise my son so that my little one smiles”, Zhibek joyfully lifts her four-year-old son, Kairat. Kairat has cerebral palsy and cannot walk. His parents do everything they can make their son smile more often’.

Zheken village, Chui region, Kyrgyzstan. January 2020.

Astghik Avetisyan, Armenia, 17 – 18-years-old and Under Category​

Part of a series called, “How wonderful life is without war and without COVID 19”, showing young refugees temporarily residing in Armenia, with whom NGO Improve Our Village (a former BEARR grantee) implements several programs.​ Astghik is a volunteer at Improve Our Village.


Sergei Shibaev, Russia – EECA category


Sergei is a foster parent at Orion Children’s Community in the Kaluga region, Russia.​ ‘This photo shows the solidarity of children faced with a joint task. Together they must catch other children who are running away from them. Each of them could do it faster alone, but doing it together is a fun challenge and a novel experience’.

Kaluga region, Russia.

Elena Siretanu, Moldova – EECA Category​


‘Gelu and Denis stopped attending school because of the pandemic. Neither of them has a computer so they can’t attend lessons online’.

Moldova, Peresecina.

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