Anadolu Agency honors Konstantinos Tsakalidis, winner of Istanbul Photo Awards 2022

Anadolu Agency Director-General Serdar Karagoz presents award to Greek photojournalist in Istanbul



Konstantinos Tsakalidis, the winner of this year's Istanbul Photo Awards, was presented his prize, a camera, by Anadolu Agency Director-General Serdar Karagoz on Friday.


Tsakalidis, a 36-year-old Greek photojournalist freelancing for Bloomberg, was honored for his moving portrait of an elderly woman during last year's devastating wildfire on the island of Evia.


The photo – titled Woman from Evia – captured 81-year-old Kritsiopi Panayiota's pained reaction as a blaze approaches her house in the village of Gouves.


"This is one of the most powerful photographs of last year," Karagoz said at Anadolu Agency's Istanbul office.


"And your photo was the best. That's why I wanted to personally present this award to you," he said, wishing Tsakalidis well and expressing the hope that he would get many more awards in the future.


Karagoz also invited Tsakalidis to an environment forum being organized by Anadolu Agency this fall.


"Environmental issues are one of our key focus areas and something we are working on very seriously," he said, adding that the event will feature discussions on "all kinds of environmental challenges and climate change issues."


Tsakalidis' photograph, Karagoz said, was a poignant depiction of the impact of climate change.


News agencies from around the world, including Greece, will be invited to the forum to "discuss the media's responsibilities on this issue," he added.


He said the event will also include a photo exhibition, where Tsakalidis' snap will be "one of the most important photographs" on display.


Karagoz urged Tsakalidis to "keep taking such great photographs for the world," stressing that journalists share a "very similar" culture.


"We should work together because our cultures are very similar. We need solidarity to tackle our common challenges, like environmental problems and refugee issues," he asserted.


'A great honor' to accept award


Tsakalidis said it was a "great honor" for him to accept the award in the "magnificent city" of Istanbul.


"Istanbul Photo Awards is one of the most prestigious competitions in our field," he said.


"I'm very happy, and maybe in the future it will be great to not have such sad photographs in the competition," he added in a lighter vein.


This year's Istanbul Photo Awards were supported by Canon, the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), and the national flag carrier, Turkish Airlines.


Information about the jury and all the winning photographs is available on the website: www.istanbulphotoawards.com.

Istanbul Photo Awards ‘big motivation’ for photojournalists

Sergei Stroitelev, winner of 1st prize in Story Portrait category, receives award at Anadolu Agency’s Istanbul office



The Istanbul Photo Awards is a “big motivation” for photojournalists to continue their careers, according to Russian photojournalist Sergei Stroitelev, who won first prize this year in the Story Portrait category.

Stroitelev, a freelance photojournalist, was presented the Canon camera prize at Anadolu Agency’s Istanbul office from the agency’s award-winning photographer Elif Ozturk.


Asked about his feelings, Stroitelev told Anadolu Agency that winning the Istanbul Photo Awards is a “great motivation” for him and brings “international exposure” as well as “a lot of new contacts.”

Noting that seeing his work being appreciated by a “great jury” consisting of his “role models” is “such an honor,” he said: “It's such a big motivation to continue working.”

He said he was surprised when he learned he won the prize “because I won this contest once some years ago, and I didn't think that it's possible to make it two times.”

“It was really surprising, and a big honor of course,” he said.

Stroitelev said he previously heard from his colleagues about the Istanbul Photo Awards contest, adding “a lot of my colleagues applied before.”


‘The Strongest Bond’

Stroitelev’s work, titled “The Strongest Bond,” covers women in Chechnya and Dagestan whose children left to join the Daesh/ISIS terror group, in which photos of their missing loved ones are superimposed on the figures of their mothers and their surroundings.

Explaining the story behind the photographs, Stroitelev said: “When I was on assignment for one of the Russian newspapers in Dagestan, three mothers came to me. They told me that their daughters are missing somewhere in ISIS (territory) and nobody cared about that.”


“And I became really interested in the issue and decided to give these women a voice,” he added.

He said the hardest part was to find the women and persuade them to be photographed, adding that some parents helped him find more women that are willing to speak.

“The third task was the psychological task,” he said, adding the women were crying when telling their stories.

“It's a challenge for every photographer to work on these kinds of issues,” he said.


Being a freelancer

Asked about his experiences so far as a freelance photojournalist, he said: “When I went to Maidan (Ukraine) in 2014, I started freelancing. I documented the revolution.”

“I realized that I'm going to photograph like all my life because I realized that photojournalism has so much power and is the perfect instrument to raise awareness about issues,” he said.

Noting that he is currently not living in Russia, his advice to younger freelance photojournalists was to “don't give up.”

He said that although there are some moments you won’t have enough money to continue your work, there are also “great moments,” like being awarded “such a great prize.”

* This year, the contest was supported by Canon, the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) and Turkish Airlines (THY), the nation's flag carrier. Besides the cash prizes, this year the first prize winners of all categories will receive a Canon camera.

Information related to the 2022 jury and award-winning photographs can be accessed via the website www.istanbulphotoawards.com.

Istanbul Photo Awards ‘among top contests in the world’

Proud to be winning major contest in photojournalism, says winner Andrej Isakovic



The Istanbul Photo Awards is regarded as one of the top contests in the world among photographers including photojournalists, said Serbian photojournalist Andrej Isakovic, who won this year’s Single Sports category.

At a time when the whole world was trying to adopt to the new normal brought about by the coronavirus pandemic as well as other crises, photojournalists were recording history by capturing powerful images.

Anadolu Agency’s Istanbul Photo Awards did not backtrack support for photojournalism during these pressing times.

Talking about his winning entry, Isakovic, who works for Agence France-Presse (AFP), said the photo was taken during last year’s Formula 1 race.

The race was going as usual until the second half, he said.

He could have left the venue at that moment but he decided to trust his gut and stay.

“I somehow anticipated that something's going to happen, especially in that quarter,” he said.

“At the first moment, you don't think, you react by instinct, you keep on shooting pictures,” he said, referring to the dramatic crash of the 2021 season when Verstappen and Hamilton collide, with Verstappen's Red Bull nearly landing on top of Hamilton's head in Monza.

Calling the halo effect a “life-saving technological innovation,” he said he is glad there were no major casualties in the incident.

“I feel very proud to be one of this contest’s winners in the sports category as the Istanbul Photo Awards is regarded one of the top contests in the world among photojournalists and other photographers, as well,” he said.

He added that he received numerous positive and congratulatory e-mails and comments from his colleagues all around the world.

“When we put my picture aside and look at other winning images, we can see that they are all amazing images,” he said.

About choosing which photo to submit to the contest, he said that it was the decision of his agency.

Additionally, about the submission process, he underlined that the contest’s website is quite “straightforward.”

Power of images

“It’s a cliché when people say that a picture is worth a thousand words, that it can tell us so much but sometimes, it’s also true,” said Isakovic.

“I was also very proud to speak from my side for this particular picture because it was widely published, widely used on Instagram. Lewis Hamilton has thousands of comments for this image on his profile.

“For TV, everybody used this photo, which was so to speak shot in a traditional way with a photo camera. So, this proves to me and a lot of others that fought for photojournalism to have its place in the modern society to bring news to people,” he said.

“You still see the power of one single image and it is still going on despite people saying that we are overrun by multimedia. I don’t think so,” he said.

“I think that this contest is proof that one single image can bring out lots of emotions, news, and so on,” he further said.

Techniques, stories, technological developments

Stating that as an agency photographer he has to deliver photos to subscribers in real time, Isakovic said that is where the recent technological developments in the field of photography come to help.

“You can transmit images from the camera, you can do so many things in the camera, and at the end your client will receive a picture in minutes,” he said.

However, he said technology can only help if the image is powerful.

"Just one camera and one good eye is all that you need,” he said.

Additionally, he said, your instinct and experience as a photojournalist are as important.

He also gave some pieces of advice to the newcomers on the field, and as the first and the most important step, he suggested them “to be honest.”

“What I meant is that they shouldn’t play with the images. If that picture is for photojournalism, it has to be about the truth, to inform the people what's happening there to tell a nice story,” he said.

This year, the contest was supported by Canon, the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) and Turkish Airlines.

Information related to the 2022 jury and award-winning photographs can be accessed via the website www.istanbulphotoawards.com.

Istanbul Photo Awards ‘one of the most important, prestigious contests’

Contest includes many jury members with lots of experience in field of photojournalism, says prize winner



The Istanbul Photo Awards is one of the most important and prestigious contests in recent years mainly because it includes many jury members who have significant experience in the field of photojournalism, said Greek photojournalist Konstantinos Tsakalidis, this year’s Photo of the Year winner.

While the world was facing deadly viruses, climate crises, wars, conflicts and disasters, photojournalists continued to take their responsibilities seriously to reflect the real world with incredible photos.

Even though this period has been a tough one, Anadolu Agency’s Istanbul Photo Awards contest has proven the power of photos when trying to understand what the real world is all about.

As the winners were announced in all categories, Tsakalidis, who also works for Bloomberg, shared the story behind his award-winning photo “Woman from Evia” and expressed how he felt after being deemed worthy of the award.


Noting that the photo was taken in the village of Gouves on Greece’s Evia Island on Aug. 8, 2021, Tsakalidis said he left the observation point where he could view a wildfire with other colleagues and approached the village despite the growing fires in the area.

“I thought that if the fire had really approached the houses, these would be the images that would most vividly describe the disaster and the consequences of the climate crisis we’ve lived with in recent years,” he said.

There, he came across the woman in the picture shouting towards her house as her husband was still in the backyard, telling him about “all the hard work they had put into their home” and “the lack of government intervention to put out the fire.”

“As she was telling me this, the flames swallowed up the pine forest behind the house. That's the moment I took the picture,” he said, describing the moment as “very intense and moving.”

He recounted the difficulties he had during that time, noting: “This was the first time I covered, as a photojournalist, a fire with such a scale, and I can say that I was a little bit afraid of showing this situation.”

Emphasizing that he and his colleagues’ safety was one of his priorities back then to be able to go to the area every day to take more pictures, Tsakalidis also spoke about the techniques he used, where he tried to have the same colors both in his photo and the environment as “it was a strange situation.”

“In this story of Evia, I just followed my instincts,” he said, adding “I think that you need courage and a strong character to follow the stories.”

About what “Woman from Evia” meant for him, Tsakalidis noted: “I think that this image describes in the best way the despair and sadness of the local people of Evia Island about the destruction of the natural environment as well as the negligence of the state in extinguishing the fire in its beginning.”


Fairer world

Meanwhile, he touched on the responsibilities of photojournalists and the power of their work, asserting that he doesn’t believe that only one photo could change the whole world.

“Maybe we can make the world and how politicians behave towards the people in a fairer way,” he said.

Mentioning that photojournalists have “the greatest responsibility” when demonstrating the reality to people, he said: “We have to be very confident and aware of the information we transmit both so the events and our text follow the picture.”

“I think the most important thing is that we have to help eradicate misinformation now more than ever,” he said, referring to how technological developments have affected today’s world.

However, he also pointed out some positive details about the developments in photojournalism.

“Technological developments in photographic equipment have had a very positive effect on reportage by improving the image quality, flexibility in file transmission and reducing the size and weight of the equipment.”

“It is easier and healthier for a human body to carry all the stuff,” he added.


Great honor

Recounting about how he first heard that he was granted the Photo of the Year award in the contest, he said: “It’s a great honor for me that my photo has been recognized.”

“The Istanbul Photo Awards is one of the most important and prestigious contests in recent years in the photography industry mainly because of the jury members and not only prizes,” he said.

“In this contest, we have a lot of members in the jury who have experience in the field of photojournalism as photographers and editors.”

Tsakalidis also made some important recommendations for new photojournalists and those who want to become a photojournalist.

“My only suggestion for them is to go outside and follow the news, because if you are not present in front of a huge event, you can’t take anything. Try it more and more every day and follow your instinct.

“To shoot strong images, you have to be there during the incident. Maybe then you can shoot something important. You never know,” he added.

About the difference between being a freelancer and working full-time for a corporation, he stressed that it has not always been easy for him while freelancing, as he didn’t have “a constant salary every month.”

Also, freelancers have to “follow every news event to create something every day,” he said, adding it is not “so bad” because then “you can decide what you can cover outside about the news or which story you want to follow. You don’t have a boss over your shoulder.”

However, he also underscored the need for a well-known corporation to work with in situations like the Russian war on Ukraine, saying “it’s very difficult to follow this story as a freelancer. You need very big support both for your safety and for managing the budget.”

Information related to the 2022 jury and award-winning photographs can be accessed via the website www.istanbulphotoawards.com.


Istanbul Photo Awards 2022 winners announced

Bloomberg photographer Konstantinos Tsakalidis wins Photo of the Year award with his work ‘Woman from Evia’


Bloomberg photographer Konstantinos Tsakalidis' photo titled "Woman from Evia" won the Photo of the Year award at the Istanbul Photo Awards, the eighth edition of the annual international photography contest held by Anadolu Agency to support photojournalists.

A prestigious jury selected the award-winning photographs for the Istanbul Photo Awards 2022.


Tsakalidis' photo was selected among more than 16,000 photographs submitted from different parts of the world. 


In the Single News category, Getty Images photojournalist Drew Angerer received second prize for his work, in which he captured the violent Jan. 6 siege on the US Capitol.


AFP photojournalist Paul Ratje won the third-place award with his photograph reflecting the difficulties faced by refugees who try to enter an encampment in Texas.


Professional photojournalists entered the contest with photos demonstrating last year's global events, from the Taliban's rule in Afghanistan to floods in Indonesia, from the Australian Open tennis tournament to protests over the UK's coronavirus restrictions.

Two finalists were awarded at the suggestion of jury members in the Story Portrait category, in total, 19 photographers received prizes in seven categories.


This year, the contest was supported by Canon, the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) and Turkish Airlines (THY), the nation's flag carrier.


The jury members selected the winners through a platform designed exclusively for the contest by the Anadolu Agency Information Technologies team due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


'Istanbul Photo Awards will continue to support the photography sector'

Speaking about this year's contest, Serdar Karagoz, the agency's director general, said the power of photos extends news content beyond language, space and time.

He praised photojournalists for continuing their work with dedication despite the disruption to normal life due to the pandemic.

Noting that the importance of the quality of the photographs submitted is increasing every year and the jury members are speaking highly of the organization, he continued: "I would like to thank all the photographers who made us witnesses of the anxiety of the California fires, the excitement of the Olympic Games, and the heartbreaking moments in refugee camps. Additionally, I thank each jury member for their invaluable contributions to the contest."

He stressed that Anadolu Agency will continue to support photography in the coming years with the Istanbul Photo Awards, which has turned into a platform that all professional photographers in the world wait for with interest.

Congratulating Mehmet Aslan, who received the first prize for "Single Nature and Environment" with his photo that exposes the effects of drought, Karagoz said: "Special news projects spanning several years will be evaluated in the long-term projects category that we will open next year."

Information related to the jury and award-winning photographs can be accessed via the website (http://istanbulphotoawards.com).