From the star-studded hills of Hollywood, to Ukraine’s military camps, Russia’s Caucasus region, and the gloomy streets of Thatcher-era England, the programme for this year’s Portrait(s) festival covers a wide breadth of both geography and context. The French photofestival dedicated to portraiture returns to Vichy for its seventh edition this summer, with exhibitions by Philippe Halsman, Tish Murtha, Michal Chelbin, Bastiaan Woudt, Turkina Faso, Benni Valsson, Ambroise Tézenas, and an intriguing show about selfies, curated by Olivier Culmann.
Selfies, Equal/Egos presents a mixture of amateur photography and artists who explore the phenomenon in their practice. Both serious and offbeat, the exhibition examines the mechanisms of virality, and the repetitive nature of the image economy in a digital age.
What does Eastern Europe look like 25 years after the fall of Communism? And how do young image-makers there see it? Calvert 22 is investigating, with an exhibition titled Post-Soviet Visions: image and identity in the new Eastern Europe. Curated by Ekow Eshun, creative director of Calvert 22 Foundation, and freelance writer and curator Anastasiia Fedorova, the exhibition includes work by 14 emerging photographers born in Eastern Europe and Russia – Armen Parsadanov, David Meskhi, Dima Komarov, Genia Volkov, Grigor Devejiev, Hassan Kurbanbaev, Ieva Raudsepa, Jędrzej Franek, Masha Demianova, Michal Korta, Patrick Bienert & Max von Gumppenberg, Paulina Korobkiewicz, and Pavel Milyakov.
Kati Turkina, a London-based fashion photographer with a huge following in her native Russia, spent her teenage years in Essentuki, an industrial city of 100,000 people ringed by mountains in the North Caucasus. Essentuki is often referenced in the poetry of Alexandr Pushkin, but it’s barely known by anyone outside Russia. It’s home, Turkina says, “to the biggest mountain in Europe – Elbrus. It is a beautiful area, but so poor and wild now. In the past, men from the mountains could just steal a girl, and that was that. Now it is more peaceful.” Turkina has a more peaceful life now, as well. Her teenage years were, she says, “so full of intensity and adventures and new things.” She describes herself as “a wild, small woman, covered in piercings, against everyone, in such a hurry to live.” “I was just crazy,” she says. “I started to drink alcohol, and was only interested in boys and going out. I had good marks at school, but they told me I had a lot of behaviour problems. …