Mary Gelman, World Press Photo Contest 2022 Regional Winner

Photo by Mary Gelman / VII. Minya and Tanya after Bible study. Svetlana residents get dressed up and spend time together, discussing a chapter from the Bible and sharing their impressions of the week. Svetlana is a unique social village in Leningrad Oblast, Russia, where young residents with varying special needs from different countries live together with the support of multiple tutors and volunteers.

Mary Gelman received an Honorable Mention for her project M+T in the 2022 World Press Photo Contest. 

Selected by an independent jury out of 64,823 entries by 4,066 photographers from 130 countries, the regional winners are 24 photographers from 23 countries: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Japan, Madagascar, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Palestine, Russia, Sudan, and Thailand.

World Press Photo

M+T is an intimate story about the love of a couple — Minya and Tatyana, both in their 50s – with Down syndrome in the social village of Svetlana, which is home to people with varying special needs, as well as their mentors and volunteers. Svetlana is not an asylum or a clinic. Every resident is valued as a person, and everyone works for the common good. The photographer has visited Svetlana and stayed there for a few days every two months since 2016, and feels it has become a part of her life. This is a collaborative project — the polaroids in the story were shot by Tatyana herself.

Share on: