20 January 2018, Saturday, 6:20

Dzmitry Bandarenka: This is not a photo set, it is a mockery at prisoners


The former political prisoner considers Curanau, the winner of the Belarus Press Photo competition, an accomplice to tortures.

A coordinator of the European Belarus civic campaign Dzmitry Bandarenka claimed that in an interview to the charter97.org web-site, when commenting on competition awards ceremony that took place yesterday in Minsk.

“I am shocked by Belarus Press Photo jury’s decision to award the grand prix to a journalist of On the Guard newspaper Viachaslau Curanau. May be, someone could see deep philosophical sense in these pictures from the prison in Zhodzina. In them I see the evidence that photographer Curanau was at least an accomplice to tortures and mockery at prisoners. It is absolutely clear that this savage photo set with the stupid chair in the exercise yard was not voluntary. The prisoners do not look into the camera, and their hands are handcuffed behind their back and it is freezing outside. When I was in the penal cell of KGB’s prison, I had the “luck” of walking handcuffed at minus 15. I can tell that it is a real torture. A person feels very strong pain, and the hands remain blue for several hours after such a walk. It is important for sadists that no traces remain of that.

Unfortunately, for many Belarusian policemen and On the Guard’s photographer Curanau prisoners are merely slaves with no rights. But is remains unclear what the jury members of the respected competition thought of.

I admit that Belarus Press Photo‘s jury decided to award the grand prix to an employee of a police newspaper for the album not to be recognized as extremist, like it happened with the 2011 edition. But a damaging precedent is being created here: wouldn’t an employee of the OAC be the next year’s winner with deeply philosophical photographs of the shooting of prisoners”, - Dzmitry Bandarenka claimed.

Viachaslau Curanau. Photo: svaboda.org

Viachaslau Curanau. Photo: svaboda.org

We would remind that Belarus Press Photo is an open independent press-photograph competition in Belarus. It is supposed to encourage the development of photo journalism, support experience and knowledge exchange between the generations of Belarusian photographers and contribute to free and unlimited exchange of professional information.

In 2013 the organizational committee received over 2500 competitive pictures from the record number of participants – 114. The winners are picked in 9 categories – News, Daily Life, Report Portrait, Artistic Portrait, Arts and Entertainment, Nature, Traditions and Mobilography. Single pictures as well as series received awards in each of the nominations.

The award ceremony took place yesterday in Minsk.

The grand prix’s winner Viachaslau Curanau has for 11 years been working as a press-photographer for the newspaper On the Guard affiliated with the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus.