Being alive

Shortlist 2021

Darya Aslanyan

Darya Aslanyan has been a member of the Union of Photo artists of Russia since 2005, winner of the Young Photographers of Russia award in 2003,2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, as well as awards of photographic contests Direct Look, Photo Parade in Uglich and the Polar Perspective, finalist of the World Reportage Award 2018, Italy. She has participated in more than 20 group exhibitions, including The Young Man in the 21st Century (2015, Lithuania) and Marsciano Arte Giovani (Italy, 2016).

The Compromise

Being alive

In spring 2019, I got an assignment to photograph one of the hospice patients. I expected to meet a hopeless sufferer lying in bed. When the door opened, I saw a beautiful woman, full of life and arrangements instead. Ira Novikova had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in November 2018, and the doctors told her that she had no chance to meet the New Year 2019. However, she was not going to give up. It did not matter how much time was left; she would fulfill the rest of her life with happy moments. She decided to make her dreams come true. Ira made several tattoos, got a driver's licence, learnt how to make craft cosmetics, and, finally, in June of 2020, she got to Crimea to see lavender fields in blossom. She suffers from intolerable pain and receives several morphine injections daily, but she has a gift to admire the simplest things. She inspires other people to appreciate being alive. On the 1st of July, on my birthday, Ira died. From now on, this story will be forever interwoven into my life.