Photographer from Belarus becomes World Press Photo finalist

The 35-year-old woman had two abortions. The photo: Tatsiana Tkachova / World Press Photo

Photographer from Belarus Tatsiana Tkachova has become one of the finalists of the World Press Photo international photo contest.

A series of portraits by Tatsiana Tkachova is called “Between Law and Shame” and is dedicated to the topic of abortion in Belarus.

“Belarusian laws on abortion allow termination of the up to 12 weeks’ pregnancy upon request and under certain medical or social circumstances — up to 28 weeks, which makes them one of the most liberal in Europe. Nevertheless, abortion is still a forbidden word for many women, and many are unwilling to admit that they have had an abortion. Abortion-free Weeks are held annually and the decision to stop a pregnancy can be accompanied by a sense of shame. In this project, Belarusian women who have thought about abortion tell their stories. The women had a range of problems — from the alleged consequences of the Charnobyl disaster to fear of poverty, they were afraid of becoming single mothers or of sexual abuse. Their decisions were often difficult to make and in this story, they didn’t want to show their faces and their names were changed,” says World Press Photo.

The 46-year-old woman with four children. She had an abortion when her first child was 1 year old. The photo: Tatsiana Tkachova / World Press Photo

In a comment to Tatsiana Tkachova said that she was very happy to be among the nominees.

“It was difficult during the preparation stage, as it is a very intimate topic. For about a year I had been looking for heroines. When I took my first photo for the project and published my message on Facebook that I wanted to find heroines, they wrote to me. I thought it’d be hard to work with women. But they were all very understanding of what I was doing, and they helped me a lot. I am sincerely grateful to them for this,” said the photographer.

Tatsiana Tkachova graduated from the Belarusian State University of Culture and Arts and the Academy of Documentary Photography and Photojournalism in St. Petersburg. Her projects focus on women, especially on the themes of gender-based violence, conflict and resistance.

Tatsiana works with Belarusian and foreign media, including Takie Dela, The Guardian, Der Spiegel Online, Ostpol, Lenta, Zvyazda and Imena.