In 1989, a record number of 71,000 Soviet Jews were granted exodus from the USSR after a century of radical changes, fuelled by a wave of anti-semitism. Between 1988 and 2010 over 1.6 million Jews left the territory of the former Soviet Union, most of them settling in Israel but others heading for Germany, Canada, Australia, and the United States.
Irina Rozovsky was seven years old when her family fled from Russia to America in 1988. “It’s ironic in retrospect,” she says. “The USSR was a closed up place where Jews were discriminated against; in the end we were the ones that got to leave and seek out a better life. It was like winning the lottery.”
Rozovsky, now 37, lives in Georgia, US, with her husband and two-year-old daughter. “In my work I’m always circling back to the beginning of things, which for me is leaving one place and settling in another, adapting to a new life,” she says. “My photographs are not autobiographical, but I guess that history and the search for the familiar echoes in how I see. Not being able to see the place that you remember, I think that drives my photography.”
“In the EU today, we take women’s rights for granted,” says Marina Paulenka, director of Organ Vida, a three-week international photography event held annually in Zagreb. Founded in 2008, the festival has always been driven by political context, and this year, for its 10th edition, its all-female team have chosen to emphasise female-identifying perspectives from around the globe.
“In a time of post-capitalist global turmoil, technological advancements, with the strengthening of rightwing extremism, the growing influence of religion that limits women’s rights again, and the semblance of democracy in the 21st century, we are facing a situation in which women must fight anew for the rights that had been won long ago,” Paulenka insists.
Organ Zida, the impressive new independent photography festival from Zagreb, Croatia, has announced the ten finalists to compete in their main prize, orientated around the theme of Boundaries. Each of the finalist’s photography whose photography will be presented at the main festival exhibition, at the Klovićevi Dvori Gallery in Zagreb from the 3rd to the 18th September 2015. The exhibition is the central tenant of a diverse offering of photography from the only documentary photography festival in the Balkans. Sorting through over 300 projects from 47 countries was no small feat for the international panel of judges, consisting of photography heavyweights such as internationally-acclaimed photographer Roger Ballen, editor of Aperture magazine Michael Famighetti, Dutch photographer and publisher Rob Hornstra, Italian photographer and former World Press Photo winner Alessandro Imbriaco, British photographer Hannah Starkey and Croatian academic and photographer Sandra Vitaljić, as well as BJP editor Simon Bainbridge. Rob Hornstra says of the judging process: “The way the finalists distinguish themselves is because they go beyond registration and make a personal interpretation of theme they are working on. There is …