Photo by Andrej Tarfila

Slovenian photographer Andrej Tarfila was awarded first place in a Three Seas countries photo competition for his picture of a bridge over the Ljubljanica River. The participants from 12 countries were required to capture ways in which infrastructure unites people and, conversely, how a lack of infrastructure can separate people.

The competition was designed to showcase ways in which infrastructure affects us all. “Infrastructure underlies the way the world is run in this day and age,” remarked the contest’s main organiser, Mattias Tammet. “One way or another we come into contact with it on a daily basis. We travel on roads and railways, we draw our energy from power lines and we use data networks. Modern, high-quality infrastructure boosts people’s quality of life and supports economic growth and innovation.”

The competition organised by the Office of the President of Estonia was aimed exclusively at professional photographers. “The rules pretty much gave them carte blanche when it came to interpreting the theme,” Tammet explained. “As we’d hoped, photographers from different countries presented us with very different views of the impact infrastructure has on our lives. They were each able to submit several photos, which were often incredibly different from one another.”

Second place in the competition went to Lithuanian photographer Saulius Žiūra for his picture of the Vilnius-Kaunas highway. Overall winner Andrej Tarfila also took third place for his photo of the Črni Kal overpass.

The competition served as an introduction to the virtual summit of the Three Seas nations being hosted from Tallinn at the end of October. The event will bring together 12 EU Member States between the Baltic, Black and Adriatic seas: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

The Three Seas initiative promotes cross-border cooperation first and foremost for the development of infrastructure in the energy, transport and digital sectors. The aim therein is to improve mobility for the region’s population, to boost international trade and energy security and to get the latest digital opportunities working for everyone more effectively. Investments in infrastructure will help to preserve existing jobs and will also create new ones, as well as establishing a fertile growth platform for innovative services and business models.

Tallinn is set to host the first virtual Three Seas summit on 19 October, the event opening with a debate between heads of state of the future role of the cooperation platform. There will also be presentations and discussions on the funding of international infrastructure projects, and solutions will be offered for the digitisation of the energy and transport sectors – in which Estonia, as the world’s first digital society, will be showcasing the Smart Connectivity vision created to support the development of the Three Seas region. The event will be livestreamed, moderated by leading journalists.