Best Work by an Emerging Photographer | Nominee

Ksenia Kuleshova

Dortmund / DE



There is an old legend: when God gave each nation its place under the sun, the Abkhaz was too busy taking care of his guests so he came in late and there was no land left for him. But God remembered the great hospitality of the Abkhaz, so he gifted him the only place left where God himself wanted to live – the small region on the shores of the Black Sea. Unfortunately the real life is only a distorted reflection of this legend. Abkhazia, once one of the most beloved touristic regions of the Russian Empire and later of the Soviet Union, is really a lost place on the world map. Officially still a part of Georgia, separated after the civil war of 1992, it’s a state recognized only by Russia and just a couple of other countries. The story »Abkhazia« is a portrait of the country that is caught in a two decade long sleep. It researches the everyday life of people who try to exist within this uncertainty, within a system that doesn’t have a future and doesn’t seek one.


Born 1988 in Russia.

University of Applied Sciences and Arts Dortmund, Germany Master of Arts (Photography Studies), Expected in 2020
The Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK), Gent, Belgium
Erasmus semester, SS 2019

University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hanover, Germany
Bachelor of Arts (Photojournalism and Documentary Photography), 2016 Moscow Aviation Institute (National Research University), Moscow, Russia Bachelor in PR, 2011

Fellowships and Prizes:
World Press Photo Foundation Joop Swart Masterclass (Netherlands), 2018 6th annual New York Portfolio review, Selected Participant (USA), 2018 PHmuseum Women Photographers Grant (UK), Honorable Mention, 2018 Athens Photo Festival, shortlisted for “Abkhazia” (Greece), 2018

The Royal Photographic Society's International Photography Exhibition 161, shortlisted for “Abkhazia” (UK), 2018
LHSA (The International Leica Society) Photography Grant (USA), 2017
PDN Photo Annual Award (USA), 2017

Tokyo International Photo Competition, Winner (Japan), 2017 Otto-Steinert-Preis, Finalist (Germany), 2017
VG Bild-Kunst Grant (Germany), 2016 Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Scholarship (Germany), 2012

South Tyrol Media Award, Finalist (Italy), 2011

Selected Group Exhibitions:
Visa pour L'image (France): screening “Abkhazia”, September 2018 OBSCURA Festival of Photography (Malaysia): “Abkhazia”, August 2018 Belfast Photo Festival (UK): “Abkhazia”, June 2017
Schömberg Photo Festival (Germany): “Abkhazia”, October 2017

Selected SOLO Exhibitions:
Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Gallery (Germany): “Abkhazia” , March - May 2019

The New York Times, GEO France, The Wall Street Journal, DIE ZEIT, ZEIT Online, DIE ZEIT WISSEN, ZEIT leo, The New York Times Lens blog, 6’MOIS, POLKA, Caravan