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Winner edition 2021

Jędrzej Nowicki

The Scars


The Scars is a record of what is now known as the largest anti-government unrest in the history of Belarus. Massive protests started in August 2020 and left deep traces on Belarusian society.

President Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in office for the last 26 years and his state apparatus, responded with extreme brutality to the Belarusian resistance. The protests against Lukashenko’s regime became violent on the night of August 9-10, 2020. It was then that the preliminary election results were announced, which stated that Lukashenko had won the election with a huge majority of votes.

The scars left from these events, which are also the subject of this story, vary in size and shape. There are physical scars – bruises, abrasions, fractures. But there are also psychological scars – traumas. What is now happening in Belarus will also leave deep scars in the social fabric – this division into two Belarusian states is already emerging. 

The protagonists of these photos are protesters beaten by the regime, families whose relatives have been tortured by the security services or citizens who oppose violence and want freedom. But also, teenage soldiers were dragged into the middle of a conflict that was never theirs.


Jędrzej Nowicki is a documentary photographer from Warsaw. He was born in Poland in the mid-1990s, in the middle of what they call “the transformation.” Six years earlier, the first free elections were held in Poland. Communism collapsed. During the communist era, his parents were Solidarity activists fighting for freedom. When freedom finally came, they became journalists to describe the new Polish reality. Growing up in a home like this had a significant impact on how he perceived the world around him. At the beginning of his career, he worked as a photojournalist for the biggest daily newspaper in Poland - Gazeta Wyborcza. After nine years of working there, he has moved towards a more documentary approach.