Michal Chelbin’s theatrical portraits blur the line between childhood and adolescence
Publications we loved, and the big news stories from the last month in photobooks – including the nominees from the 2019 Mack First Book Award and an interview with photobook collector extraordinaire Manfred Heiting
Travelling to Kiev in the wake of protest, revolution and civil war, Belgian photographer David Denil set about documenting the aftermath of conflict in the minds of ordinary people still coming to terms with the country’s sharp divisions. The resulting series, Let Us Not Fall Asleep While Walking, departs from journalistic record, instead attempting to depict “the psychological state of this Ukraine looking at its future while haunted by its past and memory,” he says. “The images are metaphorical representations from the everyday life encountered where time seems frozen but dreams of hope still linger.”
If you wanted to become a professional photographer in the Soviet Union, says Victor Kochetov, you only had two options. Either you could work at an atelier producing pictures for books or postcards, or you could work for the press – and both meant conforming to the ideological pressure of the state. Kochetov chose the first option, and through the 1960s he worked as a commercial photographer in Kharkiv, Ukraine, photographing events such as weddings and funerals, and providing images for books on travel.
Our pick of the key stories from the past week, including Paris’ Circulation(s) festival of emerging European photography, the first-ever Kyiv Photo Book festival, and Todd Hido’s Bright Black World
“Such great number of photo books in one place has never been presented in Kyiv before – since the foundation of the city more than 1500 years ago,” says Dmitriy Krakovich, director of the Kyiv Photo Book festival. “The goal of the festival is developing a communication between authors-photographers and publishers from one side, and broad circles of art lovers and photography art lovers in Ukraine.”
The first event of its kind in Ukraine, Kyiv Photo Book festival will feature both local and international photographers, publishers and galleries, with organisations such as MOKSOP (Museum of Kharkiv School of Photography) and Rodovid Press lined up to take part.
Rafal Milach, a Magnum Photos nominee and Deutsche Börse finalist, picks out three interesting projects from 2018
Alnis Stakle, Latvian photographer, Professor of Photography at the Rigas Stradins University, and curator of Riga Photomonth, on his five stand-out projects of 2018, including a new project at the Museum of Kharkiv School of Photography which has already seen the publication of KOCHETOV by Viktor and Sergey Kochetov
Stakle recently won the New East Photo Prize organised by Calvert 22 Foundation, with a series titled Heavy Waters. Shot in Crimea in 2011, the series shows towns and villages scattered along the coast on the Crimean Peninsula – an area that was at the time part of Ukraine, but which became part of Russia after the Ukraine-Russia crisis in 2014. To date, Crimea remains an internationally unrecognised part of Russia. Crimea was one of the most popular resorts of the Soviet Union but, says Stakle, “being on the crossroads of trade routes has always been risky”. “Since times immemorial, the Crimean Peninsula has been coveted by different countries, near and far,” he writes in his introduction to the series.
A white painted stone sits atop a pile of concrete from a fallen telephone pole. A seemingly random assortment of rubble, it has in fact been gathered to fasten a manhole cover in place. During a period of particular hardship in Ukraine in the 1990s, manhole covers were often stolen and sold for scrap metal, leaving dangerous open holes in the road. This makeshift device, erected over time out of miscellaneous materials, is one of the objects in Viacheslav Poliakov’s Lviv – God’s Will, a taxonomy of the “unexplored field of accidents” that make up his surrounding urban environment.