The Gray Zone

Shortlist 2019

Valery Melnikov

Valery Melnikov is an award-winning photojournalist from Russia. His work experience includes coverage of the Ukrainian conflict of 2014 to present; an uprising of Mali Republic in 2013, Syrian Civil war coverage in 2012-2015; Lebanese war in 2006; Infamous conflict between Georgia and South Ossetia in 2008. Now he is a staff photographer at Sputnik Agency. Valery has dedicated his life to journalism, and he continues to take pride in any project he is working on. With the great sense of urgency, Valery brings people together through incredible footage from the dangerous parts of the world, so people can see and become part of it.

The Conflict
2019

The Gray Zone

I visited Donbas for the first time in the early summer of 2014. People were hoping for the war to end, for the return of peace. However, five years passed and along the line of the warring sides, the "grey zone" was formed. "Gray zone" is an alias for the territories without formation or official government control. People's lives are in constant danger because of the fighting. The whole Donbas region turned into the "gray zone" because of the prolongated conflict and uncertain future.  A zone without a certain definition of space and time. "Gray zone" is not only a territory, but it is also one's feelings who is submerged into the darkness of the uncertainty in the face of war.