Mary Gelman

Mary Gelman, Russia

Mary Gelman is a photojournalist based in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. In her projects, she combines a strong personal approach with documentary and conceptual practices. She mainly focuses on issues relating to gender and the body, boundary and identity, discrimination, and the human relationship with the environment.

“Mary Gelman has a special, heartfelt manner of seeing and picturing realities and people. The artist in her does amazing justice to the stories she chooses to tell,” said Anush Babajanyan, photographer, VII Photo Agency, and Joop Swart Masterclass nominator.

Her 2020 Joop Swart Masterclass project is an intimate look at the love story of Minya and Tatyana, a couple with Down syndrome living in Svetlana, Russia, a village built in 1994 to create opportunities for people with special needs to develop their social and professional skills. The project is not only a love story but also wants to be a starting point to question the stereotypes and prejudices against people with special needs in Russia.  

2020 Joop Swart Masterclass

For the first time, due to the current global health crisis, the Joop Swart Masterclass is taking place online over a period of four months, and 24 participants and eight masters have been 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 is ‘Reset’.

From July to October 2020, the participants will work on their projects and receive mentorship and guidance from the mentors. The final projects will be presented in November 2020. Learn more about the 2020 Joop Swart Masterclass