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Nanna Heitmann Wins The Danish Siddiqui Award 2023 by Overseas Press of America for Best Feature Photography

Cadets in the Russian military who have just finished their studies are captured, fists clenched, in a state of fervid exaltation. Photo: Nanna Heitmann

Nanna Heitmann, acclaimed photojournalist, and The New York Times contributor won the prestigious Danish Siddiqui Award for Best Feature Photography at the 85th Annual Overseas Press Club Awards. Heitmann’s outstanding work, titled “Putin’s Forever War,” has captivated audiences with its raw portrayal of life on the Russian side of the conflict in Ukraine.

Through her unflinching lens, Heitmann reveals the hidden realities and quiet moments in regions often shielded from the world’s view. Her powerful photographs expose a society veiled in nationalism and secrecy, depicting scenes of unmarked graves in a snow-covered cemetery, a makeshift refugee center in a converted volleyball arena, and the unwavering dedication of young boys at a Communist Party youth event.

Heitmann’s work delves deep into the complexities of daily life under the shadow of war, offering viewers a poignant insight into the human experience amidst adversity. Her evocative imagery sheds light on the harsh realities of conflict and explores the historical legacies that continue to shape the ongoing struggle for survival.

The Danish Siddiqui Award, named in honor of the esteemed photojournalist Danish Siddiqui, celebrates excellence in visual storytelling and recognizes individuals who demonstrate exceptional talent and dedication to the craft of photography. Heitmann’s remarkable achievement exemplifies the power of photography to transcend borders, provoke empathy, and inspire meaningful dialogue on pressing global issues.

About Overseas Press Club of America

Established in 1939 by nine foreign correspondents in New York City, the Overseas Press Club of America is America’s oldest and largest association of journalists dedicated to international news coverage. With nearly 400 members worldwide, the club upholds the highest standards in news reporting, champions press freedom, fosters camaraderie among colleagues, and educates aspiring journalists. Annually, it bestows prestigious awards recognizing outstanding achievements in international journalism, making significant contributions to the global media landscape.

About Nanna Heitmann

Nanna Heitmann, born in Ulm, Germany, is a talented photojournalist who currently resides in Moscow, where she immerses herself in covering contemporary events such as the invasion of Ukraine. In addition to her timely reportage, Heitmann dedicates herself to long-term projects that explore how individuals respond to and interact with their surroundings.

Heitmann’s portfolio encompasses a diverse range of subjects, from documenting the impacts of climate change to capturing the essence of remote communities. Her series “As Frozen Lands Burn” delves into the devastating effects of catastrophic forest fires and melting permafrost in Siberia, while “Beneath the Trees” sheds light on the vital role of the Congo Basin’s peatlands as the world’s largest carbon reservoir.

Her work has graced the pages of esteemed publications such as National Geographic, Time, and M Le Magazine du Monde, and she is a valued contributor to The New York Times and The New Yorker. Heitmann’s visual storytelling prowess has earned her numerous accolades, including the Olivier Rebbot Award for her insightful coverage of Russia’s experience with Covid and a World Press Photo Award for her compelling story on forest fires.

In 2019, Heitmann was recognized as a nominee of Magnum Photos, a testament to the exceptional quality of her work. Her nomination was fueled by two poignant projects that explore themes of isolation — physical, social, and spiritual. “Weg vom Fenster” (“Gone From the Window”) offers a glimpse into the lives of individuals connected to Germany’s last operating coal mine, while “Hiding From Baba Yaga” follows the course of the Yenisei River through Siberia, capturing the daily existence of those residing along its remote banks. Through her lens, Heitmann masterfully conveys the dignity and humanity of her subjects, inviting viewers to engage with them with curiosity and empathy.

Portfolio of Work