“Our Afghanistan 2003-2014,” a photography competition organized by the Estonian War Museum and the non-profit NGO Fotokeskkond drew a total of 635 entries. The contest was open to anyone who served on missions in Afghanistan.
The results of the competition will be announced on Veterans Day, 23 April. An exhibition will be compiled on the basis of the submissions, and the photographs will be added to the Estonian War Museum’s photo collection.
Tõnu Noorits, a photographer and one of the organizers from MTÜ Fotokeskkond, said that he was very satisfied with both the quantity and quantity of the entries. “This is a necessary and valuable addition to preservation of our historical memory,” said Noorits. “We got what we wanted.”
Noorits said a noteworthy number of the photographs were portraits, but there were also very “dynamic” shots. “The photos sent to us depicted everyday life and military service, the local way of life and interaction with locals, the entire local spectrum,” said Noorits. “What’s interesting is how the people who did their day job in Afghanistan saw their life and work there.”
The photographs entered in the contest came from Defence Forces members, policemen, diplomats, advisers and experts. A hundred people in all entered the contest, one of whom was a retired member of the British military. His work is not competing for awards in the competition, but it will become a part of the museum’s photograph collection.
The panel of judges includes acclaimed Estonian press photographers Erik Prozes, Raigo Pajula and Rauno Volmar and Defence Forces photographer Warrant Officer Ardi Hallismaa, as well as Afghanistan operation veterans Major Eero Aija and Junior Warrant Officer Kristjan Prii. The judges will evaluate the photos’ expressiveness and emotionality, artistic and technical calibre and uniqueness.
The prizes for three best photographs will be photography equipment: a Nikon D5200 SLR and two hybrid Nikon 1 V1 cameras including lenses.
Although the deadline for entries is past, MTÜ Fotokeskkond will continue to accept photographs that document the Afghanistan experience. The photographs will not vie for the competition prizes, but will become a part of the museum’s photograph collection. Photographs from Afghanistan should be sent to tonu.noorits[at]gmail[dot]com.