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Mary Gelman is queer photographer, visual storyteller, and producer; born in Russia, she is represented internationally by VII Photo Agency.


After getting a degree in sociology, she was involved in photography. She often explores themes of identity and trauma, vulnerability and resilience, how people interact with the environment. She also focuses on life and the ideology of alternative communities and different social groups facing discrimination. The most important part of her practice is diving deeper into the topics and interactions with people, where empathy, trust, and understanding are significant. 


Mary has been a winner of different competitions. She's the recipient of the World Press Photo, Leica Oskar Barnack Award, Pictures of the Year, Istanbul Photo Awards, and so on. She was published in the Time, The Washington Post, Le Monde, Die Zeit, The New York Times, UNICEF, and many others.


Selected awards

2024 | World Press Photo, Jury Europe section
2022 | World Press Photo, Honorable mention

2022 | Global Peace Photo Award, winner

2022 The 30 New + Emerging Photographer to watch

2021 PHmuseum 2021 Photography Grant | finalist

2020 | Joop Swart Masterclass, World Press Photo

2020 | The Direct Look | 1st place in the problem category

2020 Pictures of the Year International 77 | 1st place in the portrait category 

2020 | "Life Framer-the human body| winner of 1st place
2020 | The Feature Shoot Emerging Photography Awards | winner 

2019 | Selected for the 8th annual New York Portfolio Review 
2019 | Imago Photo International Contest | winner of 1st place

2019 | Portraits-Hellerau Photography Award | winner of a residency grant
2018 | Leica Oskar Barnack Award | winner of Newcomer

2018 | Flash Forward Ward | winner

2017 | Istanbul Photo Awards | 1st place in the Portrait series category

2017 | International documentary film festival "ARTDOCFEST" | the director of the movie "Eternal memory"
2016 | Selected for Workshop with Mads Nissen and Mads Greve, Denmark  
2016 | Vilnius Photo Circle | the finalist in the "Homework" category



Exhibitions and screening (selected)

2020 | Personal exhibition in Hellerau | Dresden, Germany
2020 | Aperture Gallery | NY, USA
2018 | Paris Photo, stand Leica | Paris, France 

2018 | "Neuen Schule für Fotografie" | Berlin, Germany 

2018 | Screening night of the Voies Off Festival | Arles, France 
2018 | Center for Documentary Photography at Sakharov center | Moscow, Russia

2018 | Photographers Without Borders| Zahedan, Iran 
2017 | International documentary film festival "ARTDOCFEST" | Moscow, Russia
2017 | U.N. headquarters | New York, USA

2017 | Cer Modern Arts Center | Ankara, Turkey

2017 | Folkart Gallery | Izmir, Turkey 

2017 | Tophane-i-Amire Culture and Arts Centre | Istanbul, Turkey 
2017 | Lumiere Brothers’ Center for Photography | Moscow, Russia
2017 | Kuala Lumpur International Photo awards | Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2016 | Vilnius Photo Circle | Vilnius, Lithuania


Teaching, workshops, lectures, and other initiatives (selected)

2023 | Workshop for the Brussels Street Photography Festival

2020 | Photojournalism and documentary photography: VII Academy 12-week seminar with Mary Gelman and Maciek Nabrdalik | online

2019 | Artist Talk at the Arnulf Rainer Museum, Festival La Gacilly – Baden Photo | Baden (Austria) 

2018 | Intensive workshop for journalists in Tomsk State University | Tomsk, Siberia 
2018 | Book signing at the Paris Photo | Paris, France 

2018 -2019 | Teaching own course of documentary photography at the "School of Academic Photography" | Saint Petersburg, Russia

2017 | Workshop for journalists in Tomsk State University | Tomsk, Siberia 

2017 | Artist Talk at the Vilnius Photo Circle | Vilnius, Lithuania



Her works were published in Time, The Washington Post, Le Monde, Die Zeit,  Liberation, Internazionale, The New York Times, UNICEF, The Guardian, National Geographic and many others.  

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