Experts Determined Finalists Of RGS Photo Contest "The Most Beautiful Country"

Experts at work. Photo: Anna Yurgenson / RGS press service
Experts at work. Photo: Anna Yurgenson / RGS press service

On April 24, a meeting of the Expert Commission of the photo contest "The Most Beautiful Country" was held at the Moscow Headquarters of the Russian Geographical Society. 10 best works demonstrating the beauty, originality, and diversity of Russian nature were selected in each category.

Anyone could participate in the tenth, anniversary, photo contest, regardless of their place of residence, citizenship, and age. The only condition was that the photos had to be taken on the territory of Russia. The works were accepted until March 31, 2024.

“This year, more than 46,000 works have been pre-moderated and evaluated by the experts. Representatives of 19 countries sent their applications for the contest, including Argentina, India, Spain, Kazakhstan, China, Tanzania, etc. Interest in the contest is growing. The quality of the submitted works is also improving. It will be difficult to identify the best of the best," said Ekaterina Podkovyrina, Director of the Information and Media Support Department of the Russian Geographical Society.

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Photographer Andrey Gudkov justifies his point of view. Photo: Anna Yurgenson / RGS press service
Photographer Andrey Gudkov justifies his point of view. Photo: Anna Yurgenson / RGS press service

The Expert Committee of the contest includes professional photographers, photojournalists, editors of publications, as well as winners of previous years. Among them are Russian documentary photographer Anton Unitsyn, honorary member of the Union of Photographers of Russia Alexander Tyagny-Ryadno, editor-in-chief of the magazine "Hidden Siberia" Igor Severgin, naturalist photographer, winner of "The Most Beautiful Country" in 2023 in the category "Birds" Natalia Muravyeva.

“Evaluating the works of the contestants in the category ‘Taken on a Smartphone’, I technically traveled around Russia in digital format. I have never visited so many beautiful places of our vast homeland in such a short period of time. It was really great! In a few evenings, I ‘drove’ all over the country, from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok,” said Sergey Korshunov, a member of the Expert Commission of the contest, photographer.

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Photo: Anna Yurgenson / RGS press service
Photo: Anna Yurgenson / RGS press service

Earlier, the experts held master classes in the walls of the Moscow Headquarters of the Russian Geographical Society, where they shared their experience and gave advice to the participants of the contest.

New categories "The Most Beautiful Desktop Wallpaper" and "Photo Project" were added to the anniversary photo contest. Those wishing to apply for the "Photo Project" category had to send a series of photographs (from 4 to 10 works) united by a common theme or a visual solution. These could be shots from the life of a wild animal, a visual study of a natural phenomenon, etc. Astra Linux became the partner of the category "The Most Beautiful Desktop Wallpaper" – the works of the winners in the category will be used as a background image in the Astra Linux operating system.

“I was very impressed by the heated discussions between the members of the Expert Commission, that speak about the genuine sincerity of their decisions. Our company has proposed the category ‘The Most Beautiful Desktop Wallpaper’ so that users of the Astra Linux operating system could be inspired by the views of the most beautiful country on this planet,” said Alexander Shishkov, Director of the Design Department of the “Astra Group” company.

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Photo: Anna Yurgenson / RGS press service
Photo: Anna Yurgenson / RGS press service

Each photo submitted to the contest was evaluated by three experts on a scale from one to five. The semi-finalists were selected according to the final average score: 80 works in each category of the adult contest and 60 in each category of the children's contest. According to the results of the Expert Commission's assessments, 10 works in adult categories and five in children's categories reached the final.

“I was struck by the variety of works in the category ‘Elemental Magic’. The participants of the contest presented unique shots: from volcanic eruptions to lightning, tornadoes – natural phenomena absolutely for every taste. The fact that each of us has a smartphone or camera at hand, of course, helps out. People began to photograph truly unique events, and began to photograph them en masse. I was also surprised by the children's contest, for which very strong works were submitted, especially in the category ‘Animals’. Many shots could compete with the adult contest," said a member of the Expert Commission of the contest, the editor-in-chief of the photo journal Prophoto.ru Georgy Politsarnov.

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Photographer Yuri Trubnikov shows the press a contest work that attracted his attention. Photo: Anna Yurgenson / RGS press service
Photographer Yuri Trubnikov shows the press a contest work that attracted his attention. Photo: Anna Yurgenson / RGS press service

A popular vote among the finalists for the People’s Choice Award will be held from May 13 to 26. The winners will be selected by the contest Jury. The results will be announced in September. The best will receive 250,000 rubles. The organizers of "The Most Beautiful Country" will also award special prizes. The RGS Executive Directorate will select three photographers from among the winners of the contest from the past 10 years who will take part in one of the RGS expeditions in 2025.

Ksenia Kapitonova