6x6 Europe: Second cycle

Meet the latest 6x6 talents from Europe

The 6x6 Global Talent Program recognizes six visual storytellers from six global regions, to highlight talent from around the world and present stories with diverse perspectives. Launched in 2018, the initiative completed its first cycle last year, spotlighting 36 talents from six global regions.

The new cycle began in April, with six new talents from Southeast Asia and Oceania and South America. We are now proud to present the new talents from Europe: Máté Bartha, Hungary; Nanna Heitmann, Germany/Russia; Rafael Heygster, Germany; Carolina Rapezzi, Italy; Valentina Sinis, Italy; and Mathias Svold, Denmark.

Máté Bartha, Hungary

Based in Budapest, Máté Bartha works in the fields of photography and documentary film. For his most recent photography project, Kontakt, he received the Capa Grand Prize Fellowship in 2017, the Robert Capa Grand Prize Hungary in 2018, and the Louis Roederer Discovery Award at Rencontres d’Arles in 2019.

On nominating Máté Bartha, Istvan Viragvolgyi, curator and photo editor at Capa Centre and 6x6 nominator, said: “Máté Bartha is a great visual storyteller with exceptional sensitivity towards even minor changes in the dynamic of a group of people. He also has an ability to translate his findings into a lyric but also very direct visual code.”

While reporting from Hungarian military-themed summer camps for children and adolescents, Kontakt raises questions about their place in our society, as well as observes our attitude towards strict discipline, weapons, and war. Learn more

A navigation game where cadets need to find their way down a hill blindfolded. Holding to each other helps in this attempt. 2018.

The week-long summer camps culminate in a war game where teams compete against each other in surrounding wilderness. 2018.

Many personal relationships start at these camps. As they are about to arrive at the peak of their adolescence, they experience freedom, boundaries, pain, and love, perhaps for the first time. 2018

The ban on phone usage or camping itself puts a heavy physical and mental strain on many of them. However, being in the wild nature is an important part of the camps. 2018

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Nanna Heitmann, Germany/Russia

Nanna Heitmann is a German/Russian documentary photographer, based between Russia and Germany.

On her series Hiding from Baba Yaga, Heitmann takes us in a poetic journey along one of the most powerful currents on earth, the Yenisei River. It flows 3438 km from the Mongolian border northward through Siberia into the Arctic Ocean. For centuries, people have sought protection and freedom on the banks of the Yenisei and the adjacent Taiga River. However, with the fall of the Soviet Union, the area suffered from a structural change. Infrastructure collapsed in the remote regions of Russia, including many parts of Siberia. Isolation, unemployment, the closure of schools, and lack of medical care, were some of the effects. Learn more

Hiding from Baba Yaga is a magic trip. The opulence and soul of her quiet images make Nanna’s work a must-see,” said Carol Körting, photo editor at Leica Fotografie International Magazine and 6x6 nominator from Colombia. 

A small ferry boat is the only connection to the Old Believer village Erzhey. Members of the Old Believers--a Russian Orthodox community that left the church in 1666 in the face of state-issued church reforms--settled on lonely banks of the Yenisei to escape from the Tsar and later the Soviets. There are many small Old Believer villages along the upper reaches of the small Yenisei. They still try to live a self-sufficient lifestyle, far away from Western influences. 9 July, 2019.
Yuri in front of his self-built home on 5 August, 2018. "I am a simple worker. Nothing keeps me in the city anymore. All my friends are in the cemetery because of drugs or alcohol. Here the air is clear and not dirty from all the coal dust in the air.” 
Biologist Nikolai Putinzov has the largest collection of insects and amphibians in the Tuva area. The biodiversity and water quality are under serious threat from Chinese companies mining gold in large quantities, managing the mercury in the Yenisei and clearing the forests and exporting them to China on a large scale. 13 July, 2018.

During the Soviet Union, there was a lot of industry in Siberia. Today, people feel forgotten by Moscow politics. In Tuva, unemployment is very high. The former huge flour factory is closed. Even grain is only imported. Alcohol consumption and the use of synthetic drugs have become a major problem. The capital of Tuva, Kyzyl, is considered the most dangerous city in Russia. 5 August, 2018.

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Rafael Heygster, Germany

Rafael Heygster’s work focu­ses on the relationship between individuals and their social, cultural and ecological environment. On nominating Rafael Heygster, Stephanie Harke, photo editor, Stern Magazine, said: “Rafael reaches out very close to the people he photographs. That is why his pictures are often very touching. He is definitely a talent to watch.”

His project I Died 22 Times shows and questions the way our culture deals with warfare outside real battlefields. The series combines images of weapons fairs–war as a business–with motives of Airsoft, a leisure activity–war as a game. Both scenarios have one thing in common: war is staged as something entertaining and consumable. Learn more

Some Airsoft "playing fields" include their own fleet of vehicles with civilian and military vehicles. Brozek, Poland, 13 May 2018.
Employees of an armaments company wait for customers at their booth at IDEX in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on 18 February, 2019.
Two spectators watch a live demonstration on the "Family Day" at an armament fair in Brno, Czech Republic, on 30 May, 2019. The staged firefight with blank cartridges and smoke grenades also involves the actors simulating being "shot." After the performance, all actors stand up and leave the arena alive.

A military band leaves the stage after its appearance during the opening ceremony of the IDEX in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on 12 February, 2019. A security guard watches the spectators.

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Carolina Rapezzi, Italy

Carolina Rapezzi is an Italian photographer based in London. She focuses on long-term projects covering social, humanitarian and environmental issues in Europe and West Africa. On nominating Carolina Rapezzi, Heidi Romano, independent artist, curator, design consultant, and 6x6 nominator, said: “Carolina Rapezzi deserves more attention for her work.”

Her ongoing long-term project It Was Meant to Be explores the process of gender transition of Alexis Teijeiro (46). Alexis decided to transition to a woman in April 2017, after a life lived as a gay man. Through her story, Rapezzi takes us on a slow, personal and unknown journey exploring what it means to discover oneself and shape a new identity. Learn more

Alexis putting back on a waist cincher after a body laser session on 13 April, 2017. She has worn a waist cincher for roughly one year, in order to shape her waist while starting the hormone therapy.
Uncertainty, doubts and frustration are common feelings during the transition. The pressure of working in a luxury environment is tougher for Alexis, as she is more exposed to judgements. Sometimes, simple actions like getting ready or doing her makeup can become reason of distress. 2 August, 2018.
Alexis and Russel were together as a gay couple for 15 years. They used to live together and they continued to live in the same house after Alexis started her transition. Russel accepted Alexis’ new boyfriend and they spent an evening together decorating the living room before Christmas, on 11 November, 2017. Every year Alexis starts with Christmas decorations in early November.

Alexis in front of a Selfridges window on Oxford street, after she finished work on 21 May, 2019.

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Valentina Sinis, Italy

Valentina Sinis is an Italian photographer living and working in China. Her work gravitates toward the quirky and unusual. She is attracted to realities and people that normally don’t get coverage in the media.

On nominating Valentina Sinis, Ron Haviv, photographer and 6x6 nominator, said: “Watching the growth of Valentina's work in rapid time has been inspiring. Both her work in China and being one of the few looking at the post-ISIS world in a unique way convinces me that she will be a perfect addition to the 6x6 Global Talent Program.”

In Millennials Baghdad, Sinis documents how the young Iraqi population live are rebuilding Iraq today, 16 years after the invasion of Iraq promised better lives for Iraqis after three decades of dictatorship. Among these young people, there are artists, emerging designers, intellectuals, photographers and influencers. Learn more

Young girls enjoy chatting together whilst sitting under the statues of Shehrazad and Shehriar in Abu Nawas square, along the Tigris river in Baghdad, on 17 September 2018.

“What is different about us is that we are artists and we do crazy things, especially for some Iraqis. Mustafa has a Harley Davidson. In some areas in Iraq it is not allowed because you will get a lot of criticism. We came up with a solution. I dress up as a man so we can have fun and forget about people’s judgments.” Baghdad, Iraq, 25 September 2018.

“I want to create my music and show the rest of the world that Iraqi people are also into rock music. Some Iraqi people don’t understand the fact that a girl playing electric guitar and going to concerts is not doing anything wrong. I’m the only girl who plays electric guitar in all Baghdad.” Baghdad, Iraq, 26 September, 2018.

“I miss the lack of security and people minding their own businesses. I want to be an example for other girls because if they see me working hard and being successful, maybe they will do the same and not depend on anyone, especially not on a man like some parts of society actually want." Baghdad, Iraq, 17 September, 2018.

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Mathias Svold, Denmark

Mathias Svold is a documentary photographer based in Denmark. On nominating Mathias Svold, Paolo Verzone, photographer and 6x6 nominator, said: “Mathias is a skilled young documentary photographer. He is capable of following a long-term project until the end. He has a strong and consistent visual identity.”

His work often investigates how climate, people and communities affect the nature. In Coastland, Svold investigates how nature, people, and society use and impact the Danish coast, stretching over 8.750 kilometers. In recent years there’s been a political debate in Denmark about whether to protect the coast or to develop it for tourism. The sea mercilessly eats away at the coast, placing houses and fields at risk, while climate change creates fear of devastating floods and rising water levels. Learn more

People in Aarhus swim at the popular beach “The Permanent”.’ A hundred years ago, the port was exclusively an industrial harbor, and the water was referred to as dirty, polluted and murky. Today a new, exclusive neighborhood is under construction. The water is now referred to as blue, recreational and attractive, and in most large Danish cities new neighborhoods appear next to the port. 1 June, 2017.
The waves of the North Sea eat insatiably away at land. Therefore, the Coastal Directorate is extensively adding sand at Vejlby Klit, which is one of the most vulnerable erosion spots. A ship pumps up sand from the seabed through a tube to the coast. There it is sprayed across the beach, increasing its height by 2-3 meters in some places. The sand added to the West Coast by the sand ship in a year exceeds the equivalent of 85,000 truckloads. In a few years, the process will have to be repeated, when the waves have reclaimed the sand. 14 May, 2017.
Not far from Denmark’s northernmost point it’s Frederikshavn’s Palm Beach. More than 100 Chinese flax trees and date palms from the Canary Islands are put in the sand each spring after wintering in a greenhouse. The people of Frederikshavn initially met the notion of spending money on palm trees with skepticism, but today the trees are an ingrained part of the city’s image in Denmark and abroad. 14 May, 2018.
“This landslide hadn’t happened last Saturday,” says Gunnar while pointing up to the slope. He is a geography teacher from Støvring High School taking two of his classes on a field trip. They need to learn about coastal formation, which is a highly visible process here at Nr. Lyngby, on the northernmost part of the West Coast. The sea is eating the slopes, and during the last 50 years, almost 50 meters have disappeared. Half the local cemetery has crashed into the sea, along with several holiday homes. 14 May, 2017.


The next region in this second cycle of the 6x6 Global Talent Program is Africa. Discover the results of the first cycle in Africa, and the key dates for this region.