On 19th March the World Photography Organisation announced that second year Photography student Alecsandra Raluca Dragoi was the winner of the first prize at the 2013 Sony World Photography Awards Youth Award, Culture category.
The picture was taken on a traditional New Year’s Eve mask-dance called “Dance of the Bear”
in Botosani, in the Moldavia region of Romania, Dragoi’s home country. It is a pre-Christian ritual which underlines the predominant agrarian lifestyle of the past.
Alecsandra said: “The tradition aims to purify and fertilise the soil for the next year. The
costumes are kept and preserved for hundreds of years and only used for the New Year’s traditions. The bear cult is of Geto-Dacian origins; back then, the bear was a sacred animal.”
The Sony World Photography Awards were launched in 2008 and are run by the World Photography
Organisation. The awards are judged by juries selected from the World Photographic Academy and the wider photography industry.
The World Photography Organisation requires that photographers must be aged 19 and under as the Youth Award competition looks to uncover the next generation of photography talent.
The photograph will be presented in a month-long exhibition from 26th April to 12th May at Somerset House in London, next to the winners of the other two categories, Portraiture and
Environment, and will be published in the Sony World Photography Awards book.
Alecsandra said: “I was in shock and I still have the same feeling. It is a great achievement, and definitely the most powerful thing that ever happened since I have taken up photography. I feel that my hard work has finally been rewarded. Definitely, this prize is a new step in my evolution.”
Alecsandra is running for the Overall Youth Photographer of the Year. The announcement won’t be
made until the 2013 Sony World Photography Awards gala ceremony on 25th April at Hilton Park Lane and will be selected from the three Youth Award category winners.
As well as continuing her freelance photography, Alecsandra is planning her dissertation alongside continuing her project about traditions back in Romania.
Alecsandra’s optimism and confidence has led her to an amazing success in photography. She has been inspired be many photographers, such as Henri Cartier Bresson, Eugene Atget, Walker Evans, Martin Parr, Ozolin Dusa, Dan Mititelu and others.
You can see Alecsandra’s work in her online webpage www.alecsandraralucadragoi.com