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Indy cameraman in top 5

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Phando Jikelo's fiery picture makes global photo competition shortlist

STAR PHOTOGRAPHER: Phando Jikelo

Independent Media photographer Phando Jikelo said he was delighted to have made the top five in the Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest.

“It feels really great to be shortlisted. It came at the right time – in my thirties. I never planned it, but things happen when you show dedication and try by all means to work hard and put effort into what you are doing. The picture came at the time when I never thought of it. Things happen when you are persistent to get the shot you always wanted,” Jikelo said.

The press photo competition is organised by the Rossiya Segodnya media group and the Commission of the Russian Federation for Unesco. It aims to support young photographers and draw public attention to the challenges of photojournalism in today’s world.

Jikelo was named in the top five of the amateur photography section, along with Shashi Shekhar Kashyap (India), Anna Pantelia (Greece), Yury Smityuk (Russia) and Tabyldy Kadyrbekov, (Kyrgyzstan) who went on to win the section.

Jikelo said it was important for locals to tell the story of South Africa. “It also says a lot about us as South Africans. We need to show the world what we are all about and what really happens in our own country.

“For my picture to be out there means a lot, so I am really, really happy.”

PERFECT SHOT: Phando Jikelo has made the top five in the Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest with his picture of a protester swinging a tyre in Ou Kaapse Weg, Grabouw.

Kadyrbekov, whose winning photo was Candy Floss Lady, will receive a certificate like the contest winners that will be announced by a professional jury on August 7.

Speaking of the online vote was Alexander Shtol, head of the Rossiya Segodnya’s photo directorate, who expressed happiness over the results.

“We are happy about the results of the online voting, which demonstrates the popularity of modern photography among viewers.

“The photos for which the amateurs voted are distinguished by their precision in conveying candid scenes from daily life and brightness of colours.”

Adding to this was winner Kadyrbekov, who described how his winning photo came about.

“There was a snowstorm in the street. To be honest, I was reluctant to go out when the editor told me to make a photo report.

“But in the process of taking photos I really got into it and I no longer felt cold, and stopped hiding from the snow.

“It was interesting to see how residents of Bishkek responded to the snowstorm. I was about to finish my photo session in the capital when I saw a granny selling candy floss. I took a photo of her from behind, but it seemed to me that something was missing.

“I walked around her and took a couple of pictures. She smiled and I took this picture.

“She asked me: ‘Why are you taking pictures of me?’ I said: ‘As a memento.’”

In 2017, the Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest received about 5 000 photos from 76 countries in four categories: top news, sports, my planet and portrait: a hero of our time.

Winning photographs have been exhibited in Moscow, Istanbul, Cape Town, Shanghai, Beijing, Cairo, Berlin, Rome, Maribor and Ljubljana.