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The Winners - 1st Edition

The Winners - 1st Edition

by Rafał Milach

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The Winners is dedicated to winners of various state and local competitions supported by the Belarusian authorities. The list of the winners also includes the best of the best in contests promoting beauty or public space maintenance. Winners are present in kolkhozes (collective farms), schools, public institutions, nightclubs, village discos and on Boards of Honour in almost each Belarusian town.

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The project is part of Milach’s ongoing work examining propaganda in post-Soviet blockcountries. The photographer met and photographed the winners of local and regional state-run competitions including the multi-champion in dog beauty contests, the most effective potato farm, the best look-a-like Jennifer Lopez, the most beautiful staircase, the best ideology room, the best milkmaid and the best couple in love.

The images have the appearance of amateur
photographs, over-exposed with the awkward subjects partially obscured, if in the frame at all. Pictured standing in front of makeshift backdrops, the subjects, all ‘The Winners’, are remarkable for their collective ordinariness. The Winners was made possible by support from the Magnum Foundation and Sputnik Photos.

Published 2014
Limited Edition of 500 copies
165 x 222mm
112 pages with 53 hand ‘tipped-in’ images
Hardback red faux leather cover with debossed text
ISBN 978-0-9574272-7-3

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  • Rafał Milach (b.1977) is a visual artist, photographer, author of photobooks. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice, Poland and ITF in Opava, Czech Republic, where he currently lectures. For over 10 years, Rafał Milach has been working on transition issues in former Eastern Block countries and is Co-founder of the Sputnick Photos collective. He has earned worldwide recognition for his books – The Winners (published by GOST Books in 2014) and 7 Rooms. He has received grants from the Ministry of Culture, Magnum Foundation and the European Cultural Foundation and has won prestigious prizes, including the World Press Photo, Pictures of the Year International. His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at C/O Berlin and Zachęta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw amongst others. Milach’s works are found in the collections of the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts in Japan, Brandts in Odense (Denmark), CCA Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw, ING Polish Art Foundation, Museum in Gliwice. Rafal has been shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2018, and his work will be exhibited at The Photographers’ Gallery London from February 2018.