A photograph depicting a 2011 Warsaw protest has won the 25 Years of Freedom photo competition, jointly sponsored by the EBRD, Raiffeisen Polbank and Gazeta Wyborcza. Entrants had been asked to submit photos providing glimpses into the fundamental changes that Poland has undergone since the fall of the Iron Curtain.
The winning photo, by Mateusz Krukowski, was announced at an exhibition and awards ceremony held at the EBRD Annual Meeting and Business Forum 2014 in Warsaw. Special guests at the ceremony included Andrey Kurkov, the Ukrainian novelist and commentator; Neil Buckley, eastern Europe editor of the Financial Times; and Piotr Stasiński, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Gazeta Wyborcza.
The photo depicts an elderly man walking amongst protestors and smoke while holding a Polish flag. “Poland has been a free country since 1989. But freedom here is expressed in very different ways,” wrote Mr Krukowski in the photo’s caption.
Second place went to Piotr Kisiel’s image of numerous advertisements on a Lublin street, showing how economically competitive Poland has become since 1989. Karol Mielewski’s photo showing the contrast between a new, post-communist building and run-down shacks won third place.
The competition’s jury included Dermot Doorly, photographer and photo editor at the EBRD; Andrey Kurkov, Ukrainian writer and screenwriter; Joanna Cegłowska, Director of Corporate Communication at Raiffeisen Polbank; and Waldemar Gorlewski, photographer and photo editor of Gazeta Wyborcza and Agencja Gazeta.
“The standard of photography was incredibly high and it was a real pleasure to judge the entries and see Poland through the eyes of its citizens,” Doorly said. “The very high standard did however make deciding on winners very difficult. The winning entrants are fully deserving of the accolade and I have no doubt we will continue to see some of these photographers’ names well into the future.”