Photo Award

Winning image,
Honorable Mentions
and Finalists

The call of the CitiesToBe Photo Award 2023, the second edition of Anteverti’s international photography contest about urban complexity, received 1,189 images from 94 countries. After shortlisting 50 finalist images, the contest Jury chose a winning image and 10 honorable mentions among them.

The awarded and finalist images draw attention to some of the main challenges facing our cities today and constitute a visual journey through urban complexity and its manifestations throughout the planet — from Malta to the Mongolian steppe, from Brooklyn to Dkaha, from Iran to Ukraine. Here are the final results of the competition.



A thought-provoking visual testimony on the urbanization process of the nomadic peoples of Mongolia, and on the impact of climate change in the redefinition of urban realities and traditional life habits.

In the shadow of the big city

by Nathalie Daoust (Canada)

Winning Image
of the CitiesToBe Photo Award 2023

awarded with an acquisitive prize of €1,500 and its incorporation into Anteverti’s private photography collection


«In the last 70 years, Mongolia’s temperatures have climbed three times faster than the world’s average. Every year, summers and winters are becoming harsher. In 2017, the country saw the hottest summer in half a century, during which two thirds of the country were plagued by drought, while desertification has already turned a quarter of its land to desert. Without sufficient grass to eat, animals lack the fodder to survive the world’s coldest winter, when temperatures plunge below minus 40 degrees centigrade. Nomadic herders whose subsistence depends on their animals, are now forced to migrate to Ulaanbaatar’s overcrowded Ger districts, the areas of the capital where they are allowed to put up their yurts for the meanwhile until they are ready to go back home. Thousands of nomadic families arrive to the “New City” created for them. Finding a job while living in such a place with no sanitation, running water or central heating, has become an everyday struggle. During the winter, the cheapest way to keep warm is burning coal, however this constitutes 80% of Ulaanbaatar’s winter emissions, generating some of the worst air pollution on earth and most of them are looking to go back home.»


Whether in New York, Tokyo or Berlin, Nathalie Daoust (Montreal, Canada, 1977) has always asserted a childlike contempt for reality. With a passion for intimacy, this Canadian photographer, born and raised in Montreal, has devoted all of her art to unveiling the secrets hidden beneath the apparent stability of life. Daoust first broke onto the scene in 1997 while photographing the themed rooms of the Carlton Arms Hotel in New York. This project, her first solo exhibition, was then published into a book, New York Hotel Story. Since then, Daoust has created several new conceptual projects that have taken her all over the world, from the love hotels of Tokyo, to a brothel in Brazil, to a darkroom in Sydney and the dreamy landscape of the snow-capped Swiss Alps. Her objective as an artist is to push the boundaries of photography through experimental methods. While working with new mediums and discovering new darkroom techniques, Daoust explores the indefinable realm between truth, fantasy and the human desire for escapism.

Follow Nathalie Daoust on Instagram

📣 📸 A visual journey that invites us to think about urban complexity and the interrelated layers and realities that make up our cities today — Check out the winners of the #CitiesToBe Photo Award 2023, @Anteverti's #UrbanPhotography contest 👇🏽 Clic para tuitear



9 images with an exceptional ability to inspire new reflections on the different realities and layers that make up cities and how they interrelate with each other.

‘The fisherman, Paris 2021’

by Benedetta Ristori (Italy)

— taken in Paris, France


«Les Choux de Créteil are part of the post-war brutalist architecture around the french capital. From 1968 onwards, a new urban center was developed in Créteil, France, with seven districts entrusted to different architects. The architect Gérard Grandval proposed an organic and brutalist project for the neighborhood near the courthouse: a group of round buildings lined with petal-shaped balconies that would be nicknamed the” City of the Cauliflowers” some years later. The “dahlia”, originally composed of social housing, was restructured and part of the apartments were then allocated to students. In the 2010s, the Manoïlesco architectural firm renovated the building to create 172 student rooms and 18 family apartments.»


Benedetta Ristori is a freelance photographer based in Italy. Her work is focused on the tension between a form and the space it takes and where it’s contained by. Daily objects or common landscapes are, for the artist, symbols of connection between interiority and materiality. The outside world is faced and represented through suspended atmospheres, bringing the viewer into a space less and timeless experience. Working in both staged and spontaneous photography, combining meticulously location, colors and composition, with a particular attention on subtraction and reduction to the essential.

Great Expectations

by Laura Roth (Austria)

— taken in Lanzarote, Spain


«Taking the theme of islands as its starting point, the photo series “Great Expectations” traces a broad arc from paradisiacal expectations of island living to tourism in times of the climate crisis. How could island life – which we always associate with a relaxing place of longing – take place in the future? Through a careful look at absurdities, peculiarities and landscapes, a new approach to the island living in its rawness should be created. Islands are often small places, but with a big impact. In times of rapidly rising sea levels and increasing storms, islands are vulnerable. As new islands emerge, old one’s face drowning. A life of uncertainty on sinking paradises and the question about how Island live could take part in the future.»



Laura Roth (1997, Carinthia, Austria) is a visual artist whose practice involves various techniques with different media.  Her variant bodies of work explore the balance between reality and fiction. Laura Roth currently lives and works in Linz and Berlin.

Kyiv: urban change

by Gianluca Cecere (Italy)

— taken in Kyiv, Ukraine


«March 2022, Kyiv, Ukraine. Trenches, mines, cheval-de-frise and more rudimentary systems: obstacles and resources used to barricade themselves have changed the face of the urban spaces of the Ukrainian capital. Independence Square, the most important square in the city, but also minor streets, have become an obstacle course for pedestrians but above all for four-wheeled vehicles. The aim is obviously to obstacle the advance of the Russian enemy, but when you know this city as it was before, one cannot fail to be struck by this profound militarization that has changed the face of the city..»


Gianluca Cecere (1968) is a freelance photojournalist based in Naples, Italy. Graduated in Economics at the Federico II University of Naples he worked as a broker in several banks for 10 years. Day by day his professional career has become unsatisfactory and photography has been a healing process for him, a tool to discover human beings and develop his cultural relativism. His career in photojournalism began professionally in 2006. He has produced reportages in Middle East, Asia, Africa, North America, Europe.


by Dasha Sapranetskaya (Belarus)

— taken in Minsk, Belarus


«At the end of the winter of 2020 in Belarus, when independent journalists were constantly detained and government increased the terror and mass repression still further, I was overcome by permanent anxiety. Every day I read the news, how riot policemen broke down the doors of someone, how someone was sentenced to years in prison. I came up with a therapy for myself in the form of walks in the urban areas of Minsk. I borrowed a medium format film camera and wandered around looking for old dovecotes. I loved those weird makeshift pigeon houses that fit so well into the urban landscape. Protest graffiti were often painted on them. I wanted to collect as many pictures as possible, because only older people are engaged in breeding pigeons. There are fewer of them every year, as well as dovecotes. I have tried to preserve these strange buildings as an archive of the time that is passing.»



Dasha Sapranetskaya is an Belarussian visual storyteller. She is based in Minsk, working mainly in the field of documentary photoghaphy, film and news and is focused on local Belarusian topics. She graduated from the course of photojournalism by Andrey Polikanov, Tatiana Plotnikova and Yuri Kozyrev, studied at the Belarusian Collegium the course by Andrei Liankevich, participated in Women Photography Mentorship Class.

The Spread of Over Development

by Therese Debono (Malta)

— taken in Qawra, Malta


«Blank is a research project that highlights the nondescript buildings that are currently taking over the island of Malta. In a quest to build fast and sell faster, few architects and contractors are genuinely interested in preserving buildings, keeping with the narrative and context of a place. Plenty of buildings are crowding the peripheries of towns and villages to the point that there is barely any space between one location and another. Blank is a visual study that seeks to offer the public a voice in an effort to protest against these boring structures that make people feel empty. It is a protest against the massive edifices that are suffocating the village and town cores, taking over heritage at such a rapid pace that in a few years’ time, Malta’s characteristic architecture will become obsolete. The photo depicts a shot of the many third-party blank walls which are dominating the skylines and littering the streets on the island of Malta. The white blank walls represent the narrow-minded people that cannot see the repercussions that this unregulated development is having on the country. The project is still in works in progress state.»



Therese Debono is a documentary photographer covering places, the streets and portraiture: endangered places, local interiors, and documentary portraiture are amongst the subjects she explores and interprets. Her main work with places revolves around the loss of heritage in her country as well as the over development that is currently on-going that is destroying the spirit of the places that once were so powerful and unique on the island of Malta. Therese grew up in Malta. She graduated from the University of Malta with an MFA in Digital Arts and an MA in Cultural Heritage.

Halfeti’s Delights

by Ralph Gräf (Germany)

— taken in Jeserig, Germany


«This photo belongs to my conceptual book project «Brandenburg Unplugged». It was taken at dusk in a small village in rural Brandenburg called Jeserig. The girl in front was hiding from her parents, who were still waiting inside the booth to get their kebab.



Ralph Gräf lives in Potsdam and loves to spend his spare time for photography to act out his creative talent that is often missed out on his daily work as a professor for cell biology. With his photos he wants to stimulate the imagination of the viewer and tell a story that emotionally touches him, since sensing emotions is the prerequisite to keep pictures sticking in the viewer’s mind. He prefers available light and clearly composed pictures with a discreetly arranged motive. Many of his photos won prizes in national and international photo contests.

The urban playground

by Mithail Afrige Chowdhury

— taken in Dhaka, Bangladesh


«Young people playing cricket on a rooftop at Dhaka, Bangladesh. The total area of Dhaka city is 306.4 square kilometers with approximately 18 million residents. And 48 per cent of this population is children below 18. Unfortunately, for this huge number of children there are only 148 playgrounds and 27 parks. There are no parks for the children to play within several blocks radius from where I live. Moreover, most of the playgrounds don’t even have touch of nature, let alone having proper arrangements for playing.»


Mithail Afrige Chowdhury is a documentary and street photographer based in Dhaka, Bangladesh.  He was raised with the ordinary people at his birth town Khulna, Bangladesh. Since then, he always tried to see and understand people’s life, their pain, happiness, complications through social, economical, political, environmental changes. While living in the capital city at 2015 when he started photography, decided to capture only the things that he was so close throughout his life. Mithail’s primary objectives are to show people about other people’s problem and emotions.

Alternative landscape

by Ghazaleh Yazdanparast Tehrani

— taken in Karaj, Iran


«This is Karaj, a large city near the Iranian capital. It was known for its green urban environment and unique natural landscape. After Tehran, Karaj is the most immigration-friendly city in Iran. In recent years, the city has become one of the most polluted cities in the country due to the excessive use of Mazut fuel by large-scale industries. The picture documents a building next to Tehran – Karaj freeway, which is painted with a mural. This freeway is an important transit road connecting two major industrial zones. As a result, the blue sky of Karaj has turned into a neutral gray most days of the year. As a citizen, gray skies are part of the routine of life in a third world country. I am afraid that one day the neutral sky of Karaj will turn into a default context. The only question is how our future children will remember this sky?»


Ghazaleh Yazdanparast Tehrani draws inspiration from capturing the true face of cities and urban landscapes. She was born in Mashhad and lived in Tehran to pursue her passion of discovering cities through her camera. She studied graphic design and graduated with a master’s degree in visual communication from the Fine Art University of Tehran. Later, Ghazaleh and her husband and established the Nimkat Studio, which was established for architectural photography. Now she devotes herself entirely to visual Art of photography.


by Toma Gerzha (The Netherlands)

— taken in Saint Petersburg, Russia


«The Western High-Speed Diameter (Saint Petersburg) is the most popular road in Russia with more than 380,000 payments per day. During the construction of the WHSD, the old districts of Saint Petersburg were built up. These neighbourhoods were subsequently resettled, but the buildings have still not been demolished eight years later. This is how, for example, a ghetto was formed on Kanonersky Island.»



Toma Gerzha (born in 2003) grew up in Moscow, Kolchugino, Lukhovitsy, and still speaks Russian language. Her family moved to the Netherlands in 2009. She has successfully completed her photography studies at the Dutch Academy for Visual Creation in 2019. Gerzha first gained public notice with her solo-exhibition “Nameless people, nameless country” (2022), at C-LAB Art Gallery in Amsterdam. The show included a series of photographs of teenagers in the post-Soviet space taken a few months before the war in Ukraine. The exhibition was included in the Amsterdam Art Guide at Her works are in collection of Cultural Association MoCA, University of the Arts London, Saint Petersburg State University (Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences).


‘Dubai IV’
by Manuel Álvarez Diestro

Taken in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

‘Untitled #1, San Mauricio, from the series «The Cathedral of Nostalgia’
by Rodrigo Illescas (Argentina)

Taken in San Mauricio, Argentina

In the shadow of the big city
by Jacek Cislo (Poland)

Taken in Wroclaw, Poland

‘La colmena’
by Ariel Maceo Téllez (Cuba)

Taken in La Habana, Cuba

Daily chat on the balconies
by Birol Kirac (Türkiye)

Taken in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

‘City dwellers’
by Azim Khan Ronnie (Bangladesh)

Taken in Dhaka, Bangladesh

by Mohammad Hossein Moheimani (Iran)

Taken in Gorgan, Iran

‘Garbage wind’
by Elina Ershova (Russia)

Taken in Saint Petersburg, Russia

by Matei-Alexandru-Bolog (Romania)

Taken in Gozo, Malta

‘One way’
by Amir Masoud Arabshahi (Iran)

Taken in Shahmirzad, Iran

by Emil Gataullin (Russia)

Taken in Vidnoe, Russia

‘Glimpse of the city’
by Shibasish Saha

Taken in Dhaka, Bangladesh

The great escape
by Enrico Markus Essl (Austria)

Taken in Linz, Austria

Benidorm’s skyline
by Jordi Jon Pardo (Catalonia)

Taken in Benidorm, Spain

‘Thousand of travellers in a city station’
by Rayhan Ahmed (Bangladesh)

Taken in Dhaka, Bangladesh

‘Güle Güle’
by Jean-Marc Caimi and Valentina Piccinni (Italy)

Taken in Istanbul, Türkiye

‘Toldos azules en Benidorm’
by Alberto Sen (Spain)

Taken in Benidorm, Spain

‘Rioturbio mining town’
by Lys Arango (Spain)

Taken in Mieres (Asturias), Spain

‘Ethan and Chloe kissing on a roof top’
by Toby Binder (Germany/Argentina)

Taken in Liverpool, United Kingdom

‘Alleyway (I)’
by Ties Van Brussel (The Netherlands)

Taken in Hong Kong

by Seyyed Mohammadvahid Nasseri (

Taken in Tehran, Iran

Innovative way of boarding train
by Deba Pasad Roy (

Taken in Tongi, Bangladesh

Alexandria beach
by Summer Kamal Eldeen

Taken in Alexandria, Egypt

‘Nine Elms, London, October 2019’
by Gianluca Calise (Italy)

Taken in London, United Kingdom

by Sandipani Chattopadhyay

Taken in Dhaka, Bangladesh

‘Block Party’
by Talya Brott
(United States)

Taken in Brooklyn, United States

‘Under the Airport’
by Nuno Serrão

Taken in Madeira, Portugal

Lagos, the mega city
by Ademola Akinlabi

Taken in Lagos, Nigeria

by Sebastián López Brach

Taken in Rosario, Argentina

‘Faultless Catastrophe of a City’
by Jahid Apu

Taken in Dhaka, Bangladesh

‘Social Building, Roederplatz, Lichtenberg, Berlin, 2021’
by Paco Poyato

Taken in Berlin, Germany

‘Group living’
by Luo Jian

Taken in Tonghua, China

Plastic Bottle Recycling
by Joy Saha

Taken in Dhaka, Bangladesh

35mm film photography
by Oleh Horbunov

Taken in Dnipro, Ukraine

by Yahya Paryav

Taken in Sanandaj, Iran

Science town in Siberia
by Lyubov Yarinich

Taken in Novosibirsk, Russia

‘Man and machine’
by Kingshuk Chakravarty

Taken in West Bengal, India

‘Life of humans in an inhuman way’
by MD Asker Ibne Firoz

Taken in Dhaka, Bangladesh

by Francisco Lagüera Conde

Taken in Berlin, Germany