Davide Monteleone

David Montelone's series on the Nothern Caucasus has already earned him a world press photo award and it stuck in my memory when I saw it then. Now he's gained a big cash grant from Burn's Emerging Photographer competition. I'll forgo my usual complaints about 'win one award and you'll sure enough win another' and the whole loose and undefined 'emerging photographer' thing because, quite simply, the photography is excellent.

He notes: I’ve been working from Chechnya to Dagestan, from Northern to Southern Ossetia, just after the war in August 2008, all the way to Abkhazia, from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea coasts, crossing geographical and political borders. My interest isn’t to cover the news that brought the region back under the international floodlights, but to carry on a considered path by making notes of the tracks left behind.

It's this kind of dedication to a story that I see in so many colleagues who push again and again to spend time and connect with the people and events unfolding in front of their lens. It's the kind of work you have to believe in on a personal level, the stories that may fade into and out of headline news but never stay, that are about ordinary people just living their life. Despite the politics of the region there is very little of the sensational here, just a lot of the ordinary presented in an extraordinary way.

It is what I strive for in my own work. I want to make people look at something that may be incredibly familiar to them and say 'I've never thought about it like that before.' This is what this work does for me, so hopefully Mr Monteleone will spend his money wisely and deliver to us some more captivating glimpses into other people's lives.

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