John Stanmeyer to chair the Aurora Photo Competition Jury

Aurora Humanitarian Initiative has announced the jury for the Aurora Photo Competition. The professional jury chaired by American photographer John Stanmeyer will select the best photos illustrating the ideas of humanism.

“The narrative of our world is always before us. Within us. At the ground beneath our feet. It takes courage to grasp this importance. Working towards awareness, peace, takes commitment. Not in complexity, but in kindness and humility. The result, a profound impact that shepherds our collective humanity forward, towards the betterment of all. It is in this spirit, this purpose, that I am honored to be the Chairperson for this year’s Aurora Photo Competition. Please join me in helping turn, through photographic storytelling, the wheel of change,” said John Stanmeyer.

The members of the jury are photographers Anush Babajanyan and Zaven Khachikyan, art historian and curator Vigen Galstyan, composer and member of the Aurora Prize Creative Council Marine Ales and CEO of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative Arman Jilavian. The short bios of the jury members are presented below.

Aurora Photo Competition launched in December, 2016 expects to receive photos exploring the understanding of themes including humanity, hope, selflessness and a belief in a brighter future. Aurora Humanitarian Initiative will award US$2,500 to the photographer of the best image. Second and third places will receive awards of US$1,500 and US$1,000 respectively. The deadline for submissions is March 20, 2017. More information about the competition is available here.

Competition Jury

John Stanmeyer (Chairperson) – American photographer John Stanmeyer has been working for National Geographic magazine since 2004. He has photographed in over 100 countries. For 10 years John worked for TIME magazine. In 2014 he received prestigious World Press Photo of the Year award. In 2015 Stanmeyer arrived in Armenia working on a National Geographic story. Ghostlands, a story on what genocide means all of us today, 100 years ago and in the future, using the Armenian Genocide at the fulcrum for the overarching narrative. Since then, John worked in a number of projects and workshops in Armenia, including his latest, @Bridging.Stories, working with 24 young photographers in both Armenia and Turkey to tell their own stories to bridge hope, build peace.

Marine Ales – Marine Ales is a famous Armenian composer and theatre critic. She is the author of 300 songs in Armenian and Russian. Her songs were released in 5 albums: I’ll Leave You (1999), My Poplars (2001), Thoughts (2003), With and Without You (2007), Barefoot in the Sky (2010). She was jury member of the 2016 Golden Apricot International Film Festival. Marine Ales is co-founder of Gift of Life Foundation. She is the laureate of numerous awards for life-time achievements. In 2010, Marine Ales published the collection of her poetry Shards. Marine Ales is the member of the Aurora Prize Creative Council.

Anush Babajanyan – After completing her degree in Journalism from the American University in Bulgaria in 2006, Anush Babajanyan began working as an independent contractor for the BBC Monitoring Service in Yerevan, Armenia. After more than one year working at the BBC, Anush began, and has since been working, as a freelance photographer in Yerevan, focusing on women’s issues in Armenia, the aftermath of the Gyumri earthquake and social narratives related to women. In 2012, Babajanyan co-founded a women’s cooperative 4Plus. Much of Anush Babajanyan’s activity has been dedicated to peace building processes between Armenia and Turkey. Anush Babajanyan’s photography has been published in Washington Post, VICE News, National Geographic, and other international and regional publications.

Vigen Galstyan – Working between Australia and Armenia, Vigen Galstyan is an art historian and curator specialising in photography, film and Armenian art of the modern era. In 2011 he co-founded ‘Lusadaran’ Armenian Photography Foundation, which aims to collect, study and preserve photo-media art from Armenia and beyond:. Since 2006 he has authored numerous exhibitions, essays and books related to photography and Armenian art: His essays on photography and cinema have appeared in significant publications such as ‘Sweet sixties’ (Sternberg Press, 2013), ‘We used to talk about love’ (Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney, 2013) and ‘Garden of the East: photography in Indonesia 1850s-1940s’ (National Gallery, Canberra, 2014). He is currently completing his PhD thesis on indigenous, 19th century Armenian photography of historic architecture at the University of Sydney.

Arman Jilavian – Arman Jilavian leads Aurora Humanitarian Initiative as CEO. He is a member of the Board of Directors at RVVZ Foundation, Member of the Board of Trustees of UWC Dilijan, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of MEDIACRAT. In 2011, he was named the Media Manager of Russia in the Printed Media / Magazines category. Arman Jilavian graduated from the Lomonosov Moscow State Universtiy with a PhD in philology. He has held various positions in Russia’s leading media groups (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Eurasian Media Group) and managed the Time Inc.’s business in Russia (FORTUNE and Popular Science magazines).

Zaven Khachikyan – Zaven Khachikyan is an Armenian photographer and documentarian. He started his career in 1980s. Since 1988 as a photographer he documented the Karabakh movement from its inception to the years of war. He was present at the war zone for a few times. His focus is on man with all his feelings, hardships and problems. He worked on assignments for AP, TASS, Time, Paris Match and many other magazines.

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