All posts tagged: Russia

On show: Sergey Ponomarev’s A Lens on Syria

“With this exhibition, I will reveal something different to what Western and British society has seen about Syria,” says Sergey Ponomarev. “Most of the visual narratives that come from Syria are shot from the rebel side – people suffering from the government shelling, suffering malnutrition or lack of water, and just recently being attacked with chemical weapons. I will show images from normal life.” The Pulitzer Prize-winner is talking about his upcoming exhibition at the Imperial War Museum London A Lens on Syria, in which he’s showing two award-winning series created in partnership with The New York Times – Assad’s Syria (2013-2014) and Europe Migration Crisis (2015-2016). His mission, he says, is “to be the eyes of society”. Ponomarev has been following the Arab Spring since 2011, when anti-government protests first started to emerge in Syria but he says that from the start, “it was clear that photojournalist with Russian background couldn’t join the rebels”. Historically the Soviet Union supported the Syrian government and that remains the case today; “when the Free Syrian army clustered into several Jihadi groups, some …

2017-05-25T10:41:25+00:00

The thin blue line: Combining Russian policewomen and the criminals they capture

Social networks allow us to project whatever image we choose onto the people we’re connected to, and images – those we take of ourselves and of others – form a central role in the way we perform for others in the online space. And this sense of performance lies at the heart of a project by Russian photographer Anastasia Rudenko, which features images of policewomen and criminals she has found online. From 2011 to 2014, Rudenko, who was born in the South Kazakhstan region of the former Soviet Union, collected images sourced from Russian social networking sites, including Odnoklassniki.ru, a social network for schoolmates past and present, akin to Friends Reunited. These kind of sites are everywhere in Russia, she says, and they provide an “avalanche” of images that can make a useful starting point for her personal projects. “I collect snapshots and then decide how I can use them, either as found images or as material for my own photography. In my work, I try to analyse sections of modern Russian society from different angles. …

2015-12-16T12:22:18+00:00

The urban alienation of Moscow’s harsh winters

On the one hand, Catalan photographer Salvi Danés’ series Black Ice, Moscow depicts daily life in the Russian capital; on the other, it addresses more universal fears about personal alienation and isolation. The 31 year old, who was born in Barcelona and has lived in the city all his life, decided to turn his attention to Moscow after completing a project in Tokyo. “It was the winter of 2011-12 and my intention was to face another urban reality, to find common elements along the same lines as the previous project,” he says. “My first project focused on the alienating urban dynamics of Tokyo – a modern, highly connected society with new technologies and an economic and social situation admired by many nations. I wanted to transport this concept to a city with different traditions.” Danés spent almost a month photographing in Moscow, looking for busy places where he could stop and observe without being noticed. He talks of the city as being “full of companions but empty of partners”, and in most of the images, people are pictured alone. Many …

2015-10-07T14:51:34+00:00

The surreal dreamscape of Ukrainian photographic duo Synchrodogs

Since Synchrodogs featured in our September 2012 issue, the Ukrainian photography duo have continued to gather momentum. Commissions for Tania Shcheglova and Roman Noven include Croatian eyewear design Sheriff & Cherry, a shoot for New York Magazine, and a portrait assignment for Dazed & Confused photographing their compatriots, the protest group Femen. Their recent project, Reverie sleep, sees Synchrodogs explore their dreams – the space between wake and sleep that is both familiar and remote. “The project deals with the stage of non-rapid eye movement sleep, during which some people may experience hypnagogic hallucinations caused by the natural process of falling asleep,” they explain. “Experimenting with those lucid dreaming techniques, we usually wake ourselves up in the middle of the night to make a note of what we have just seen, gathering our dreams to be staged afterwards.” This project has a distinctly surreal feel, but the duo’s work always builds on the uncanny and the strange, often including naked or semi-clothed figures hiding their faces and holding contorted poses. Their models are often shown against …

2015-09-14T12:44:43+00:00

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