All posts tagged: Russia

How to photograph corruption

Photographing the ‘unphotographable’ has become Mari Bastashevskiʼs mission. Born in Saint Petersburg in 1980, she tackles entrenched and often concealed systemic failures such as corruption, abuse of power, propaganda or the economies of conflict. “I have done some frontline war work, but the result felt like ‘phoning in’. Since then, I have become a lot more focused on the system rather than its victims or results,” she says. After spending three years in Russia and the North Caucasus to produce File 126, which documents cases of abductions, Bastashevski is currently working on distinct yet concomitant series. In 2013, she was awarded a Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund grant for State Business, a scrupulous and intricate study of the paradoxes of the global arms trade industry. She is also continuing It’s Nothing Personal, an ongoing project about the contrast between the corporate branding of western surveillance firms and Privileged/Confidential, an informed look at the abuses committed by officials in the Balkans. Using both text and images, her work has a forensic quality. Precision, distance and restraint inspire her aesthetic. “Beauty and spectacle are …

2015-09-03T12:19:27+00:00

Olga Matveeva – Feud

“Our relationship was strong, sophisticated,” says the Russian photographer Olga Matveeva. She had just graduated from Rodchenko Moscow School of Photography when, together with her boyfriend, they decided to move from Moscow to Crimea, for the winter at least, “and probably for longer”.  They were sharing a home, deeply in love. “But suddenly, something changed in the air,” she tells BJP from Moscow. “Everything became serious, frightening. Everyone stopped trusting each other.” The protests began in Kiev’s Maidan Square. Then, with a slow inevitability, Ukraine fell into war with its old master. Matveeva and her boyfriend found themselves sitting on the sofa, watching TV, comparing the news coverage of Putin’s coded invasion of Ukraine and the eventual annexation of Crimea. It was, says Matveeva, “a strange kind of entertainment”. As they flicked from Ukrainian to Russian to European TV channels, she started to come to terms with her situation. “I realised we were not a couple anymore, because we were not willing to give support to each other,” she says of her lover. So began Feud, a photography project …

2015-04-17T18:44:18+00:00

Ones to Watch: Danila Tkachenko

BJP

Danila Tkachenko is just 25 but has already won a World Press Photo – the Russian was awarded first prize in the Staged portraits stories category last year for a series called Escape, about men who have withdrawn from society to live as hermits. Exploring human identity and the impact of globalisation, the story picks up Tkachenko’s favourite theme, “the conflict between the little man and the global machine of progress, which is ready to smash everything in its path”. He’s now working on a new series which looks at “the death of Russian villages and mass urbanisation”, and why “humanity is actively trying to break apart from nature”. Another near-complete series, Restricted areas, documents Russia’s “secret cities”. Deserted places that were once sites of national importance, the abandoned buildings and machinery are now relics of the past. “I feel like I am an archeologist encountering the traces of a past civilisation in order to understand the reasons [why we] create these objects,” he says. Tkachenko has just won the Lensculture Exposure award, and was …

2015-04-17T14:08:18+00:00

BJP Staff