Oleg Ponomarev

Russia

Award-winning Saint Petersburg-based photographer Oleg Ponomarev has made it his mission to tell the stories of minority and marginalized groups in his native Russia. Past subjects have included the Votes of Ingria, the country’s smallest ethnic group, and a theater troupe made up of patients from a psychiatric hospital. He has also completed assignments for National Geographic Russia, Republic, and Esquire Kazakhstan. For his 2020 series “The Transition,” Oleg visited the homes of five transgender men and women who are in the process of transitioning in Russia, and produced a series of intimate portraits. As part of WeTransfer’s partnership with the World Press Photo awards, he introduced us to his subjects, and gave them each the opportunity to share their stories in their own words.

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It’s because of brave people like the subjects in my project, who talk openly about their experiences, that our society can become more tolerant.