The Competition


Encouraged by the perspective of Anteverti’s 10th anniversary, in 2019 CitiesToBe decided to organize an urban photography competition. That is how the CitiesToBe Photo Award was born, an international photography contest calling for ‘images that portray cities and their complexity’.

The 1st Edition of the CitiesToBe Photo Award opened its call for entries for two months in December 2019, with the aim of supporting creators that use the city as their main theme. During that period, a total of 533 photographs from more than 60 countries were received.

After shortlisting 50 of the images received, a First Prize and 10 Honorary Mentions were selected by the jury, and the result of the competition was announced on 4th March 2020. Roman Demyanenko (1984), a freelance documentary photographer based in Voronezh, Russia, was awarded the First Prize of the CitiesToBe Photo Award by his image ‘Vorkuta’, an image that reflects on the past and present of cities and the volatility of urban realities — through the effervescence and decadence of Europe’s easternmost town, Vorkuta.

For its artwork, Demyanenko received an acquisitive prize of 1,500 euros — and his image became part of Anteverti’s private urban photography collection.

The winning image, the honorary mentions and a selection of the shortlisted images will be featured in the edition’s book, which is to be released during 2021.

'Vorkuta', by Roman Demyanenko (Russia)

Winning Image:

‘Vorkuta’,
by Roman Demyanenko

«Vorkuta is situated in a permafrost zone near the Arctic Circle, and it is the easternmost town in Europe. After the beginning of Stalin’s mass repressions in Vorkuta was formed one of the most cruel Gulag camp. Prisoner’s forced labour was used for the coal mining. More than 200 thousand prisoners died in Vorkuta.

After the Fall of the USSR profitability of coal mines was doubted. The collapse of the Soviet economy set in motion the decline of Vorkuta. Many people left their houses and moved from Vorkuta.

Vorkuta became one of the most rapidly dying cities in Russia

Roman Demyanenko

Roman Demyanenko, born in 1984, is a freelance documentary photographer based in Voronezh, Russia.

Since 2013 he started to work as a staff news photographer for newspaper Molodoj Kommunar. In 2017, Demyanenko started photographing events for the TASS news agency. He graduated from the Academy of Documentary Photography and Photojournalism “Fotografika” in 2019.

His work has been published in newspapers and magazines including The Washington Post, Forbes, The Calvert Journal, The Moscow Times, International Photography Magazine, Republic, Novaya Gazeta or Meduza, where his complete photo report on Vorkuta was featured.

2020 Edition’s Book

The ‘CitiesToBe Photo Award 2020: Edition’s Book‘ offers a visual tour through the best 44 images that were submitted to the competition.

Honorary Mentions

Shortlisted authors

Prior to selecting the winning image and the honorary mentions, the Jury of the CitiesToBe Photo Award shortlisted the work of 50 authors, including the following:


Sameer Al-Doumy, Antonio Emanuele Alterio, Manuel Álvarez Diestro, Guillermo Astiaso Llamazares, Alexandr Bormotin, Mpumelelo Buthelezi, Manolo Espaliú, Ben Etienne, Inés García Ruiz, Enrico Gatti, David Eliud Gil Samaniego Maldonado, Juan Manuel Gómez Sandoval, Ralph Gräf, Ihar Hancharuk, Liz Hingley Hingley, Muhammad Amdad Hossain, Pablo Izaguerri, Willem Kuijpers, Diego López Calvín, Jorge López Muñoz, Adrián Markis, Debarshi Mukherjee, Ana Nance, Natalia Oreshina, Ben Parker, Camilo José Peña  Pérez, Christof Pluemacher, Cetywa Powell, Reza Rohani, Sujit Saha, Sanghamitra Sarkar, Shridarshan Shukla, Suvro Paul Suvro, Mouneb Taim Taim, Dana Taylor, Marlon Villaverde, Elizabeth Vinck Monroy, Giovanna Wilson Morello, Edo Zollo.

The Jury

The Jury of the CitiesToBe Photo Award 2020 was composed of:

  • Roger Grasas, photographer and visual artist
  • Pilar Conesa, CEO of Anteverti and President of CitiesToBe
  • Cristina Garrido, Funding Director of CitiesToBe & Innovation and Strategy Director of Anteverti
  • Sergio García i Rodríguez, Executive Editor of CitiesToBe & Head of Communication of Anteverti
  • Ana Alcantud, Consulting Director of Anteverti 

Legal Bases

Check out the legal bases of the CitiesToBe Photo Award 2020 here.