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Special mention of the jury 2020

Sergei Stroitelev

Am I not scared anymore?


About 55 thousand cases of breast cancer are detected in Russia every year – this is a lot. And behind the statistics and figures are the stories of thousands of women who fight with the disease every day. When a patient is diagnosed with cancer, not only surgery is important, but also the condition after. First of all, this is hard emotional work, the process of accepting new body, the process of dealing with fears. Is it possible to eradicate them to the end, is it necessary?

In the project Am I not scared anymore?, girls who have survived breast cancer or are still struggling with it pose for portraits and tell their stories reflecting on what happened. The diagnosis and subsequent postoperative processes transformed their personality – they changed their attitude towards themselves, their femininity, time, and priorities. For most women with such a diagnosis, nude photography is not possible for a number of reasons, including total rejection of a new body. But the heroines of the project decided on this step. Thus, the project is becoming a powerful message to all women who find themselves in a similar situation. It is dispelling stereotypes about beauty and struggling with stigma.


Sergei Stroitelev (Saint Petersburg, Russia,1985) Sergei Stroitelev is a freelance documentary photographer who works on a regular basis with National Geographic Russia, VICE UK/USA, and magazines, and for RIA Novosti, Kommersant Photos and Getty Images agencies as a stringer.

In 2014 he graduated from the U.A. Galperin School of Photojournalism with the Golden Mark award for the best diploma project, devoted to the Kiev revolution. In 2014-15 he spent 10 months in Nepal collaborating with various non-governmental structures and organizations such as the Nepalese Red Cross and the Nepal Leprosy Trust while undertaking projects covering human rights issues in the country, e.g. children with HIV, discrimination against those affected by leprosy, and human trafficking.

In 2015 he covered both the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake and migration crises in Europe.

Sergei Stroitelev has received awards in a number of international contests, such as the Jury’s Special Award at Humanity Photo Awards 2015, the Young Photographers of Russia festival award in 2014, and 2015, and the Golden Pen Award in the 2014 and 2015 Photo of the Year nominations.

He earned the Luis Valtueña International Humanitarian Photography Award 2016 and after receiving the grant, he developed a project in 2017 in Reggio Calabria, Italy cooperating with the local branch of Médicos del Mundo whilst working on several projects dedicated to the issue of migration in that region.