Maria Gruzdeva is a Russian-born photographer based in London. She draws inspiration from the prominent Western artists and art theory, however issues connecting her native country's past and present remain central to her work. Being physically distant from her country of origin for the past few years, she has developed a unique perspective on processes taking place there, investigating into Russia's post-Soviet conscientiousness, identity and aesthetics. She usually works on long-term documentary projects, underpinned by extensive research.
In 2010 Maria graduated from Central Saint Martins School of Art in Design with First class honours. In the same year she completed her first major project Direction–Space!, which was exhibited internationally and published into a book by Dewi Lewis Publishing in 2011. She then went to continue her studies at London College of Communication, receiving a Masters Degree in Photography with Distinction in 2011.
She is a recipient of the Ideastap & Magnum Photos Photographic Award, winner of the Magenta Flash Forward Emerging Photographer 2012, Fresh Faced Wild Eyed and other competitions. Her work has been exhibited internationally, with group and solo shows in Russia, UK, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Malaysia and featured in a number of photographic festivals, including Bristol Photo Forum and Les Rencontres d'Arles.
In addition to the six top winners, 25 remarkable international photographers have garnered special praise by the jury this year.
Russia's Star City military research facility 50 years after the first manned space flight.