Nanna Heitmann

Nanna Heitmann, Germany/Russia


Utrish is a Russian Nature Reserve on a half island located on the Black Sea. It is the only place in Russia that has Mediterranean vegetation such as 500-year old pistachio and juniper trees. Since the 1960s, its lagoons have been a hotspot for nudists and hippies who come to stay over the summer. While the tourists leave as it becomes colder, a handful of people live in the forests and mountains throughout the year: Russian Orthodox hermits, Krishna followers, veterans, families and people who decided to live a life in nature, away from civilization. Most of them perceive ‘Utrish’ almost as a sacred place.

This August a large fire blew through the Utrish reserve. While authorities hastened to accuse tourists, environmentalists proved that it was deliberate arson by finding traces of kerosine on different spots. Utrish is an ode to the beauty of the place, its inhabitants and subculture that face an uncertain future in the middle of corruption and politics in modern day Russia.


Nanna Heitmann is a documentary photographer with German and Russian roots, currently based in Moscow, Russia. Her work deals with issues of physical, social and spiritual isolation, as well as the very nature of how people react to and interact with their environment.

Instagram: @nannaheitmann

2020 Joop Swart Masterclass

For the first time, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Joop Swart Masterclass took place online over a period of four months, and 24 participants and eight masters were selected to make the program more inclusive. The educational experience of the Joop Swart Masterclass is based on an assignment to produce a photo essay around a given theme. This year the theme was ‘Reset’.

From July to October 2020, the participants worked on their projects and received mentorship and guidance from the mentors.

Learn more about the 2020 Joop Swart Masterclass.