Photography is an instantaneous operation, both sensory and intellectual – an expression of the world in visual terms, and also a perpetual quest and interrogation.
Young Europeans have been given the opportunity to express their European identity in all its diversity as part of the Assembly of European Regions’ (AER) “Snapshot: Europe!” competition, launched this year for the very first time.
Thanks to this project, young participants had the chance to communicate their very personal perspective on contemporary topics and display your talent. Moreover, there had the possibility of presenting their regions to other young people from across Europe.The competition was open to young people aged 18 to 30 years, active in their regions or involved in AER youth activities such as the Youth Regional Network or Youth Team. We received over 160 photos from 44 European regions and 21 countries.
The winners of the competition as well as the best pictures selected by the independent jury will have their photos on display at an international art-exhibition in Brussels from Sepetmber 22 - October 15 2009 at:
Espace Wallonie à Bruxelles, 25-27 rue du Marché aux Herbes, Brussels (B)
The award ceremony will be held at the gallery from 18.00. on 7 October 2009 in the presence of AER President Michèle Sabban, jury members as well asthe winning entrants.
Everyone is invited to participate in the ceremony - we look forward to meeting you there!
Title: Very quiet here
Author’s description: The photo was taken at an administrative office for naturalisation.
The picture was taken by Kai Löffelbein, 28 years old, Lower Saxony (D)
About the author:
Kai Löffelbein is a 28-years-old student of photography at the FH Hannover. His main focus of interest lies in the social photography. For example he did reportages about homeless people living in the streets of Berlin and youth poverty in Germany. In the moment he is working about ehemalige NS-Zwangsarbeiter in the Ukraine. The selected pictures are taken from two reportages, one about einbuergerung of migrants in Berlin-Neukölln and the other about the immigration of Iraqi refugees.
Title: Two girls kissing history
Author’s description: It all happened during the Vevcani Mask festival in Struga, FYR Macedonia, where the leadership and charisma of the former Yugoslav leader Tito is still alive. Two girls in masks (Lithuanian, Macedonian) kissing a happy guy dressed as Tito show tolerance as well as respect for cultural diversity, other nations and different ages.
The picture was taken by Indre Zdanciute, 25 years old, Vilnius (LT)
About the author:
When traveling to different countries I slowly discover the art and fun of photography. I am nspired by people, their emotions, but also by colors and unusual frames. I think that amateur photographers should be not only sensitive, but also curious.
Title: After the big storm
Author’s description: The High Tratas Park used to be full of green trees and was very popular with tourists because of its natural, untouched look. However, in November 2004 a strong windstorm destroyed this Slovak pride. The picture was taken in June 2008 and shows the impact of the catastrophe. It just cannot be erased or returned. We should be aware that climate change can radically change our environment.
The photo was taken by Miroslav Argalas, 30 years old, Zilinsky (SK)
About the author:
I like walking with open heart and catch the moments in pictures. I come from a small town called Dolny Kubin in North Slovakia, where the beauty of nature keeps me outside on walks.
I study MBA and work for City University of Seattle.
The camera is my best friend – I take it with me wherever I go and whatever I do.
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The aim of this competition was to involve young people in communicating Europe in an unconventional way, thus giving them space to show their creativity.
Young participants had the opportunity to express their views on Europe in one of three different thematic categories:
The growth of the European Union over the last decades has coincided with an increase in mobility on behalf of its citizens. Many people look for a better life in other countries, many of which are now experiencing the influx of migrants themselves.
Increasingly, multinational societies provide great opportunities and potential to Europe, since diversity is the basis for creativity and innovation. But multinational societies also pose a new set of challenges, such as xenophobia and parallel societies. It seems that successful integration is the key to overcome these challenges and to tap the full potential of migration. Against this background, the first category of the AER photo competition focuses on the topic Migration and Integration.
Photos show how migrants and integration are perceived in various regions across Europe. What are existing stereotypes and what are situations and/or initiatives that help to overcome them?
The European Union is a pioneer in terms of creating a supranational political space for people from very different backgrounds, cultures and religions. This ambitious project seemed unthinkable only half a century ago – especially considering that most of Europe’s history has been dominated by rivalry, mistrust and conflict. Since then much has changed and cooperation rather than rivalry has become an underlying value in Europe. But is the European Union more than an economic marriage of convenience? Does it also help to overcome old differences? In other words: Are we engaged in a meaningful intercultural dialogue and exchange that leads to a shared identity based upon common values and principles – or at least mutual understanding and respect – or are these developments only hiding the fact that under the surface we are all still cultivating preconceived ideas about each other?
Photos capture young people's opinion on the state of values, diversity, identity, cultural dialogue and respect in Europe today.
Industrialisation is just one of the man-made factors that have led to environmental problems affecting people living in the 21st century – global warming being the one with the most tangible impact on our everyday lives. ‘Sustainability’, a broadly used term nowadays, has been defined as ‘development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’. Complicated as it may sound, in the realms of the 21st century the notion became widely applicable not only to the ways of tackling drought or de-forestation, but also to a specifically modern means of protecting the environment, such as: sustainable architecture, cities, agriculture and renewable energies. Furthermore, sustainable development ties together concern for natural systems with the social challenges facing humanity and includes such things as responsible consumption, social equity and food security.
This third category invited to capture the idea of sustainability: What is a good from everyday life of how the needs of today are met and those of future generations respected? Where is this principle being breached? What does ‘eco-friendly lifestyle’ mean to young Europeans?