Monday, November 30, 2009

Sea of land

© Taiji Matsue

Aerial views studying the landscape below, whether it is made of layers of buildings or shapes of the land. When eyes try to analyse the surface of the earth as they do in Taiji Matsue's photographs, then maybe the sky and the horizon can really be a distraction, and so the only thing is to exclude them from our view, as he does, all the time.

© Taiji Matsue

Vedute aree che studiano il paesaggio sottostante, che sia fatto di strati di edifici oppure di forme della terra. Quando si vuole analizzare la superficie della Terra come Taiji Matsue fa con le sue fotografie allora il cielo, l'orizzonte possono davvero distrarre; e quindi non resta che escluderli dalla nostra visuale, come lui fa, ogni volta.

© Taiji Matsue


Friday, November 27, 2009


Shai Kremer, Shvil Tishtush alongside the Separation Fence, Etz Efrayim Settlement, 2004

One more find from Paris Photo (they will keep coming, but I'll stop mentioning the source from now on), Israeli photographer Shai Kremer, whose series Infected Landscape and Desert follow the traces of all the past and present conflicts spread all over his native land.

"The scars concealed in the landscape correspond to the wounds in the collective unconscious of the country. The landscape, infected with loaded sediments of the ongoing conflict, becomes a platform for discussion."

Kremer's own words beat any other possible introduction to his images, still I want to remark how these last years have given us an increasing number of photographic works that faced social issues by showing exactly the sediments of the events on the landscape of nations, sediments of the consequences of the action of human beings, whether it is destruction, new construction, settlements, or whatever else conflicts can produce.

There was a time when photography was way more devoted to grasp these kind of events as they were actually taking place, seizing the moment; but way before then, there was another time when photography could only depict the aftermath of battles, or show wide views in the distance, summing up in a few images what was later shown in thousands of photographs and hours of TV footage.

So, it is always a pleasure to give a warm welcome back to Roger Fenton.

Shai Kremer, Radar foundations Remains of a military base on top of Mount Meron Nature Reserve, 2007

Un'altra scoperta da Paris Photo (ce ne saranno altre, ma d'ora in poi non citerò più la fonte), Shai Kremer, fotografo israeliano i cui lavori Infected Landscape e Desert seguono le tracce dei conflitti passati e presenti lungo il territorio del suo paese.

"Le cicatrici del paesaggio corrispondono alle ferite nell'inconscio collettivo della nazione. La terra, infetta dai depositi del conflitto in corso, diventa una piattaforma per avviare una discussione."

Inutile aggiungere altro alle parole con cui Kremer stesso introduce le sue immagini; penso soltanto a come negli ultimi anni abbiamo visto sempre più lavori che affrontano temi di attualità proprio mostrando il depositarsi degli eventi sul territorio, che si tratti di distruzione, di ricostruzione, di nuovi insediamenti umani e di tutto quello che i conflitti portano con sé.

Shai Kremer, from Desert

C'è stato un tempo in cui la fotografia era molto più dedita a afferrare questi eventi mentre accadevano, cogliendo l'attimo; ma molto prima ancora, c'è stata un'epoca in cui l'immagine fotografica poteva solo raccontare ciò che restava di una battaglia, oppure mostrare ampie vedute da una certa distanza, dovendo riassumere in poche immagini ciò che in seguito è stato raccontato con migliaia e migliaia di fotografie e con ore di immagini televisive.

Ragion per cui è sempre un piacere poter dare il bentornato a Roger Fenton.

Roger Fenton, The Valley of the Shadow of Death 1855 © Library of Congress, Print & Photographs Division


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Light trails

"What other wheels can we invent, either indi­vid­u­ally or col­lec­tively, to keep the blog world turn­ing? Or should a blog be like the eter­nal 19th cen­tury mis­tress, deeply loved per­haps, but for­ever kept on the side, com­fort­ably set up in her own salon and main­tained with what­ever resources we can muster up for how­ever long we can afford her?"

A difficult question posed in the most charming of ways by Hester from Mrs Deane in her recap on our European bloggers' meeting in Paris last week (you might want to read further insights by other participants here and here).

Do I have an answer? I don't think so. Do I have other questions? Probably. I still feel like this sweet and yet time-consuming activity of running a blog has yet to show me where it can go, how it can evolve, what potential it holds. It allows me to always discover new photography, allows me to meet new people, broaden some kind of network that did not exist for me before. But it still feels like a beginning, as if I have not yet developed a mature form of communication through my beloved Hippolyte.

It has borne fruits for me in the past, and that makes me think it is mostly a matter of carrying on. Hence the reason I still cannot imagine ways of getting some kind of remuneration from it, which is why updating the blog can sometimes feel like something between a duty and a slight burden. Hester is right when she says that "oftentimes money changes hands through our blogs, some­times directly by gen­er­at­ing sales or assign­ments for peo­ple, but mostly in much more dif­fuse ways", and I started noticing that too, not necessarily through my own activity. I remember somebody telling me some time ago that I should spread the word about my blog in the right places, before someone else shows up with a similar product, snatching the supposed future spotlight instead of me. What would happen then? Would I have lost my chance, is that what is all about? One place to grab?
I remember I started this website for the simple reason I was a frequent reader of several photographic blogs and I couldn't understand why there wasn't an Italian equivalent of those blogs (and I've been thoroughly looking for them on the Italian web), so I thought 'I'll do it'. Some have joined me after some time, but still I have the feeling there could be more, or maybe there are more and I'm simply not aware of them.

The reason I write all this is because I think there is also a geographical issue, meaning where are your readers, which other forms of connection you can have with them outside occasional e-mails with some, and stats about the visits, telling you which country visits you most, which ones are growing, which ones will never come. But this geography then has to confront itself with the real one, and this is where many things change depending on where you live.

I don't want to sound like the usual Italian complaining about their own situation, but for sure we don't have exhibitions opening every week like elsewhere, we don't have tons of online or paper magazines, we don't have an abundance of public foundations devoted to photography, we don't have easy access to a network for our indulgence, for fun or for whichever goal we have.

So I might be kind of torn between these two worlds, from one side maybe I should be doing more to grab that place somebody suggested is hiding somewhere in my homeland, while from the other I should really throw myself in the outside world (and its growing visits to this blog) and explore a broader environment, but face myself with more competition.

Like other times after I got back from a photographic feast, I feel a bit numb and need to regroup a little bit: if these feelings were images, they would be probably close to Ebbe Stub Wittrup's Night Sky, shiny paths lost in blackness.

All images from Night Sky © Ebbe Stub Wittrup


Sunday, November 22, 2009

89 galleries, 13 publishing houses, 23 countries...

Me trying to turn myself into an Audrey Corregan photograph

I was really happy to find out that my mentor too believed in the importance of mutual exchange and collaboration, as the above photograph on display at Paris Photo proves (forgive me for not remembering which gallery was showing it). This belief was also probably what brought a group of European-based bloggers to meet in an elegant (and maybe a little expensive - let's be honest, way too expensive) bar, in front of the Carrousel du Louvre - the place where the fair took place last week end - after plunging through hundreds of works of photographic art and their often unpredictable prices. The meeting was another nice chance to meet in person, share thoughts, imagine future cooperations, explain our own respective method of work. Or, as some of us said, pleasantly discover that we are not alone in our blogging and internet madness, that there are many others lost in some kind of endless research of something worth writing about.

It is then for me a joyful duty to list here all the people I met and thank them again for the time we spent together, hoping we will soon have another chance:

Laurence Vecten from LOZ, promoter of the meeting (thanks again!);

Hester Keijser, none other than Mrs Deane, longtime penpal;

Laure Troussière, from Zoum Zoum;

Marc Feustel, Eye Curious;

Diederick Meijer, the mind behind The Black Snapper;

Nicholas Calcott, On Shadow;

Annelies Kuiper from dutch-doc;

Corinne Vionnet, photographer;

Chiara Capodici and Fiorenza Pinna from 3/3, friends and fellow citizens, actually almost neighbours.

My notes with names of interesting photographers seen at Paris Photo and never saw or heard about before

Having said that, I spare you my indulgent talk on Burtyinsky, Roberts, Gursky, Sugimoto, Wolf, Vitali, all the incredibly expensive small prints of Robert Frank or whatever else I might have seen, and just mention the two most unexpected surprises of the Paris fair:

the first one is a pornographic photograph by Eugène Atget, something I would have never expected by our favourite photographic wanderer (from the same gallery of the photograph by Bayard and Ziegler, apologize again). I leave any comment aside and just share with you this fascinating image and the text accompanying it (hoping the gallerist will not mind about that).

The second surprise falls under an exceptional serendipity: the gallery Lumière des Roses from Montreuil had a previously unknown portrait of Hippolyte Bayard himself. Aside from the fact that their note described him as "the inventor of the photographic image", they celebrated the discovery of this image with a reproduction of the "Self-portrait as a Drowned Man"... on apples. I leave the explanation of this hommage to their own words:

"It is said that Hippolyte Bayard was first inspired in his photographic research by a story about peaches. Bayard's father was a justice of the peace who lived in the country and used to grow peaches in his garden. Every year he gave baskets of fruit he marked with his name to his friends. Just as the fruit was ripening, but before it turned out bright red, Bayard's father cut his initials onto paper that he stuck onto the peaches, before leaving them in the sun to ripen. Once the paper was taken off again the initials showed up white on the reddened fruit. This paternal pastime must have been the influence for the young Hippolyte to carry out his own effects of sunlight on coloured strips of paper."

Since we are in November, Philippe and Marion Jacquier, the two owners of this gallery devoted to
"amateurs, anonymes et 'autres images' photographies des 19è et 20è siècles" chose to print the first self-portrait of the history of photography on a more autumn-like fruit. Having seen my face when I told them the name of this blog and left them my e-mail, they kindly gave me an apple as a present; if I keep it in the fridge it can last up to five months, Marion said, but she also told me that at some point I should eat it, after all it is an apple.

My own photographic apple

PS: causa carenza di tempo e necessità di pubblicare in tempi brevi, questo post è soltanto in inglese. Chiedo venia ai lettori italiani, non me ne vogliate.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Gallery hopping

Paris Photo, Ed. 2001

Sarò a Parigi per Paris Photo da domani e per tutto il fine settimana, procurandomi mal di testa per le troppe cose da vedere e per incontrare un po' di amici e magari incontrarne di nuovi.
Se qualcuno di voi che legge ci sarà, spero ci sarà modo di conoscerci!

I'll be in la Ville Lumière for Paris Photo from tomorrow and for the whole week-end, getting myself a headache strolling around after too many things to see, meeting some friends and hopefully making new ones.
If anybody of you reading will be around, I hope there will be the chance to say hi!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Greek landscape

Mount Parnes © Ektor Dimisianos

Le amiche di 3/3 sono da poco tornate dall'Athens Photo Festival, dove hanno portato la mostra di Fabio Barile Diary n°0 – Things that do not Happen da loro curata, e sfogliando il catalogo del festival ho avuto per la prima volta un assaggio di fotografia contemporanea greca. Non è mai facile avventurarsi nell'identificare peculiarità fotografiche nazionali e riassumerle in qualche modo, anche se a volte vale davvero la pena farlo: sicuramente è una questione che mi pongo quando mi imbatto in nazionalità mai citate su questo blog.

Quindi do il benvenuto alla Grecia su queste pagine con le visioni oniriche e inquiete di Ektor Dimisianos.

Zoo © Ektor Dimisianos

My friends of 3/3 just came back from the Athens Photo Festival, where they showed Diary n°0 – Things that do not Happen, the exhibition of photographs by Fabio Barile curated by them. I had the chance to flip through the Festival's catalogue, and for the first time had a taste of Greek contemporary photography. I'm never quite sure about spotting national photographic peculiarities and summarize them in some way, even though there are occasions where it is worth doing it: but for sure I think about that when I meet a nationality I never mentioned on this blog before.

So welcome to Greece on these columns with Ektor Dimisianos and his daydream and yet slightly eerie visions.

Fires © Ektor Dimisianos


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Narrow streets of cobblestones

Hutong at night © Feng Bin

"Mi affascina l'atmosfera surreale e poetica che si può cogliere in uno spazio reale. La fotografia per me è uno strumento per osservare il mondo intorno a noi e rappresentare visualmente una 'verità personale'.

Per poter cogliere questa 'realtà soggettiva', utilizzo un apparecchio di grande formato e lavoro in bianco e nero. Preferisco inoltre la stampa tradizionale in carta baritata, con la sua ampia gamma tonale e capacità di conservazione, che fanno sì che le immagini possano corrispondere alla mia previsualizzazione delle scene e così preservare questa 'verità personale' in un ricordo che non potrà svanire."

Alcuni di voi avranno ormai capito quanto io ami questo tipo di dichiarazioni d'intenti, che spesso portano con loro immagini che parlano all'occhio di chi guarda come qualcuno che gentilmente vi inviti a entrare in casa propria, vi faccia accomodare su una comoda poltrona, vi serva del tè e insista che restiate per tutto il tempo che desiderate.
Per cui fate una lunga passeggiata per i vicoli e i villaggi abbandonati di Feng Bin, immaginando tutte le storie che luci e ombre sembrano voler raccontare dai muri di mattoni intrecciati di vecchi rampicanti, le strade vuote e polverose, gli oggetti lasciati lì da generazioni ormai sul punto di svanire.

Hutong at night © Feng Bin

"I am fascinated by the surrealistic and poetic atmosphere captured in realistic space. Photography, for me, is a tool to observe the world around us, and to reflect visually the “personal truth”.

In order to capture the “subjective reality”, I use a large format camera and work in black and white. And I prefer the traditional way to print in fiber-based paper. With its wide range of tones and archival quality, the final images could accord with the pre-visualized scenes in my mind and treasure the “personal truth” in an unfading memory."

Needless to say, some of you might have learned by now how much I love this kind of artist's statements, and how often they carry with them delicate works that speak to the viewer's eye like gentle hosts letting you inside their house, inviting you to take a seat on a comfortable chair, serving you some tea, and insisting you stay as long as you please.
So let's take a long and slow walk through Feng Bin's night alleys and abandoned villages, and imagine all the stories that light and shadow seem to tell us from the brick walls twined by old plants, the empty and dusty roads and all the objects left there by generations now fading away.

Hutong at night © Feng Bin


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Places and spaces

Presque Île © Cyrille Weiner

Parliamo di nuovo di luoghi e persone, questa volta dal punto di vista di come i luoghi vengono abitati, costruiti o adattati in base alle scelte o ai bisogni di queste persone, a volte come forma di appropriazione, a volte come resistenza contro ciò che sta crescendo attorno a loro. Cyrille Weiner ci mostra diverse forme di insediamenti umani, temporanei o permanenti, ci mostra le comunità, i volti di queste persone, ci porta in giro per i vicoli, sui tetti di piccole case a osservare giganti di acciaio e cemento, in un orto nascosto sotto La Défense di Parigi o persi nell'astrazione urbana di Brasilia.

Cura inoltre un blog di fotografia molto interessante e ha una pagina Twitter.

Da non perdere il suo ultimo lavoro Presque Île.

Brasilia, en dehors du plan © Cyrille Weiner

Again on places and people, this time from the point of view on how these people inhabit the places and try to shape them according to their needs and wishes, sometimes as an appropriation of spaces, sometimes as a form of resistance against what is growing around them. Cyrille Weiner shows us many different forms of human settlements, temporary or permanent, he shows us the communities, the faces of those who live there, he takes us around exploring the alleys, on the roofs of tiny houses watching giants of steel and concrete, in a small back garden hiding beneath La Défense in Paris or lost in the urban abstraction of Brasilia.

He also runs a really interesting blog and has a Twitter page.

Don't miss his latest work Presque Île.

Avenue Jenny © Cyrille Weiner


Monday, November 9, 2009

New towns

Laurence Bonvin, Le Mur sur Spreeufer, Mühlen Straße, Friedrichshain, Berlin, 2007

L'immagine riprodotta qui sopra è ragion sufficiente per includere Laurence Bonvin nelle segnalazioni fotografiche di oggi. I suoi molti lavori sono un altro grande esempio di indagine visiva delle relazioni tra paesaggio naturale e paesaggio costruito e sui modi in cui noi esseri umani ci collochiamo tra questi due regni.

Laurence Bonvin, On the Edges of Paradise, 2005-2006

The above image calls for including Laurence Bonvin in today's photographic selection. Her several bodies of work are another great example of visual investigation on the relationship between natural and manifactured landscapes and on how human beings settle in the middle of these two realms.

Laurence Bonvin, Istanbul Peripheral II, 2005-2006


La Cicatrice

© Patrick Tourneboeuf

Non c'è ovviamente momento migliore di oggi per segnalare La Cicatrice di Patrick Tourneboeuf.

There's obviously no better moment than today to mention Patrick Tourneboeuf's La Cicatrice.

© Patrick Tourneboeuf


Friday, November 6, 2009

Death of an albatross

This photograph shows plastic found in the stomach from the carcass of a Laysan Albatross fledgling. Collected and arranged by Dr Cynthia Vanderlip, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Hawaii. Photograph: Rebecca Hosking/Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society

Atollo di Midway, "a più di duemila miglia dal continente più vicino", alcune settimane fa.
Carcasse di piccoli di albatros fotografati come reperti investigativi, la stessa immagine per ogni animale morto, la più triste forma di tipologia fotografica. Dentro ciò che è rimasto di questi uccelli, dove una volta c'era il loro stomaco piccoli oggetti di plastica dai colori sbiaditi formano composizioni astratte, racchiuse dallo scheletro degli animali. Questo è Midway, l'ultimo lavoro di Chris Jordan, una documentazione del disastro ambientale che sta accadendo in "uno dei più remoti santuari marini", vicino a ciò che è stata chiamata la Great Pacific Garbage Patch, un vortice di spazzatura al centro dell'Oceano Pacifico del Nord che si stima sia diventato grande almeno quanto lo stato del Texas.
Difficile pensare un modo più forte di esprimere come l'idea di un luogo incontaminato nel nostro pianeta sia praticamente perduta, una volta che ci si rende conto che questi cuccioli in fondo sono stati uccisi dai loro stessi genitori che li hanno nutriti con spazzatura che hanno raccolto dall'oceano credendo fosse cibo.

Midway atoll, "more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent",
a few weeks ago.
Carcasses of albatross chicks photographed almost like police evidences, the same shot for every dead animal, the saddest possible form of photographic tipology. Inside what's left of these birds, where their stomach was, tiny plastic objects with their bleached colors create abstract compositions, encased in the animal's skeletons. This is Chris Jordan's latest work,
Midway, a documentation of the environmental disaster taking place in "one of the world's most remote marine sanctuaries", close to what has been named the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a gyre of marine litter in the central North Pacific Ocean estimated to be at least the size of Texas. I doubt there is any stronger way to state how the concept of pristine is almost lost in our planet, once you realise that those chicks are basically killed by their own parents feeding them garbage collected from the ocean and that they mistook as nourishment.

Dopo Running the Numbers, in cui aveva realizzato enormi immagini utilizzando migliaia e migliaia di diversi oggetti la cui massa rappresentava la portata dei principali dati dell'inquinamento e della produzione di massa, Jordan cambia drasticamente approccio pur indirizzando il suo lavoro verso le stesse problematiche globali: mentre nella precedente serie le immagini erano assemblate dall’autore in dei murali di strati di informazioni e di significato che quasi schiacciavano lo spettatore, qui la realtà parla da sola, come si lui stesso tiene a dirci. “Neanche un singolo pezzo di plastica presente in queste fotografie è stato mosso, disposto, manipolato o alterato in alcun modo. Le immagini riproducono l’effettivo contenuto dello stomaco di questi uccelli”, scrive Jordan.
La stessa persona che ha prodotto quei mosaici che nascondevano terribili verità dietro immagini innocue ora ci mostra come quegli oggetti che lui stesso manipolava possono presentarsi in composizioni ancora più assurde: creature viventi che celano l’impossibile nei loro stomaci. La natura è quindi ora letteralmente invasa, come le muraglie di merci di Jordan suggerivano che stesse accadendo. Ed è riuscito a esprimerlo nel modo più semplice possibile, ritornando ad una delle radici dell’immagine fotografica stessa: la registrazione della realtà.

In fotografia spesso si sceglie di affrontare problematiche sociali, dichiarando di cercare una qualche sorta di verità e suggerendo un “Io c’ero” del fotografo, supportando le immagini con la verità della storia che queste vogliono raccontare. Ma spesso queste immagini sono confuse, mostrano poco e cercano di colpire lo spettatore con uno stile aggressivo. Non c’è verità riconoscibile in questo tipo di fotografie, ma le loro didascalie ci informano di un luogo, di persone, di un momento che starebbero mostrando e noi quindi in qualche modo le crediamo vere, le assumiamo come elementi della storia, come una forma distorta di prova.
Ma con Midway l’atto che il fotografo compie dicendo “è esattamente come state vedendo” ritrova una dignità e un’importanza, l’affermazione di verità diventa un’assunzione di responsabilità e il compito diventa raccogliere tracce da un luogo lontano e mostrarle nel modo più fedele possibile.

Paolo Pellegrin, uno dei fotografi in prima linea della Magnum, ha detto: “Mi interessa di più una fotografia ‘incompiuta’, una fotografia che sia suggestiva e che possa suscitare una conversazione o un dialogo. Esistono immagini che sono come chiuse, finite, in cui non c’è modo di entrare.” Che possiamo dire delle immagini di Midway allora? Sono immagini “incompiute” così come lo intende Pellegrin, oppure sono “chiuse” e “finite”?
Raramente mi è capitato di vedere un lavoro che abbia affrontato una tematica sociale in modo così forte come Jordan ha fatto con queste immagini, raramente ho visto uno stile visivo semplice, sincero e tanto efficace come questi ritratti post mortem di un’innocenza primordiale. La cosiddetta fotografia documentaria qui esprime il suo senso più profondo, quello di ‘produrre documenti’, proprio come un autore così apparentemente ‘manipolatore’ come Chris Jordan è riuscito a fare.

Coming from his
Running the Numbers works, where basically he composed large images using as units thousands and thousands of different elements picked from mass consumption and pollution datas, Jordan makes a strong visual shift from that work but still addresses the same globas issues: where in that work the images were assembled by the author, presented into murals where layers of meanings and visual informations almost towered above the viewer, here reality speaks by itself, and Jordan merely records it, as he cared to state. "Not a single piece of plastic in any of these photographs was moved, placed, manipulated, arranged, or altered in any way. These images depict the actual stomach contents of baby birds", he says.
The same person who gave us ironic mosaics hiding terrible truths behind innocent images now shows us how the same objects he's been manipulating can arrange themselves in even more absurd compositions: living creatures holding the impossible inside their own bellies. Nature is now literally invaded, like Jordan previously suggested with his walls of commodities. And he achieved that in the simplest possible way, going back to the very roots of the idea of photography: the recording of reality.

Photography often faces social issues claiming to seek for some kind of truth, suggesting some kind of "I was there" by the photographer, supporting the images with the reality of the story they're telling. But often those images can be confused and confusing, showing very little of those stories and impressing the viewer with an in-your-face style. No discernible truth in those images, but still their captions inform us about that place, those people, that very moment they're somehow showing, and we kind of believe them, we take them for granted, they become some form of twisted evidence.
But with
Midway, the act of the photographer stating 'everything is as you see it' regains its original dignity and importance, the statement of truth becomes an assumption of responsability, and the photographer's task here becomes to collect traces from a distant place to show them in the most faithful possible way.
Paolo Pellegrin, one of Magnum frontline photographers, said: "I'm more interested in a photography that is 'unfinished' - a photography that is suggestive and can trigger a conversation or dialogue. There are pictures that are closed, finished, to which there is no way in." What can we say about Jordan's
Midway then? Are these 'unfinished' images as Pellegrin intends, or are they 'closed' and 'finished'?
Rarely I saw a photographic work pointing out a social issue in such a powerful way as Jordan did with these images, and rarely I saw such a honest, simple but yet so strong visual style applied to concerned photography as in
Midway. Documentary photography here achieves its most important task, which is to produce 'documents': funny to notice that this was done by an author recently so ‘manipulative’ like Chris Jordan.

All images except image n.1 © Chris Jordan


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Russian archaeology

Magnitka © Max Sher

Il breve pezzo appena scritto su Igor Starkov è stata l'occasione per entrare in contatto con altri fotografi russi, cosa che mi ha permesso di affacciarmi su una scena che conosco davvero poco. Per cui ringrazio Elena Chernyak e Max Sher per avermi contattato, e mi sembra che i tre autori abbiano un terreno comune che va al di là delle differenze di stile e di contenuto: un senso di perdita, di utopie fallite, di un'eta doro sognata (e imposta) che ancora pesa sulle spalle del popolo russo.

Beautiful Siberia © Elena Chernyak

Nelle loro immagini vediamo uomini e donne vivere un presente che spesso sembra fatto solo di ciò che resta del loro passato, carico di false promesse e glorie perdute; e questo mi fa allora chiedere, anche alla luce di altri lavori visti in passato, se raccontare per immagini la Russia oggi non sia in gran parte scavare nel terreno con delicatezza, togliere la terra e la polvere da persone e cose, essere archeologi del proprio tempo.

Kronstadt © Max Sher

Spero di scoprire presto altri autori russi e di conoscere meglio il loro sguardo sulla Grande Madre.

Aquapark © Elena Chernyak

The recent post about Igor Starkov was the chance to get in touch with more Russian photographers, allowing me to start looking into a scene I know pretty little about. So I thank Elena Chernyak and Max Sher for getting in touch with me, and my feeling is that all three photographers share a common ground beyond their own personal style and subject matter: a sense of loss, of failed utopias, of a dreamt (and imposed) golden age still weighing on Russian people's shoulders.

Kronstadt © Max Sher

In their images we see men and women dealing with a life that often looks like it is only made of the remnants of the past, a burden of false promises and lost glories. Which makes me think, also considering several works from other photographers that I saw, if telling stories through photographs in today's Russia means to dig gently through the land, take the dirt and the dust off people and objects, be archaeologists of the present time.

I'm looking forward to get in touch with more authors from there and further explore their view of their Great Mother.

Twelve white girls © Elena Chernyak



Momenta, Joni Sternbach and Bruce Milne, 2009


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Unless You Will

UYW, front cover of issue #1

"Sometimes a photo can evoke high feelings of emotion or nostalgia and in a roundabout way it becomes a means of expressing ourselves as photographers. UYW strives to showcase photographers who add layers of meaning and capture these feelings. Their images are a happiness measurement, they give us pleasure, rekindle a memory, or trigger other emotions of their own. Our aim is to showcase these talented artists without too many frills, who work with the notions of play, honesty and craftsmanship."

Welcome to new online photomagazine
Unless You Will, by Heidi Romano (and check out her blog too).


Passionate reporting

Igor Starkov, Chechnya,Vinogradnoe village, 2008

I lavori di Igor Starkov sono un flusso gioioso e ininterrotto di immagini, una boccata d'aria fresca di fotografia documentaria piena di leggerezza, onestà e semplicità. Che affrontino temi drammatici, piccole storie private, luoghi remoti o storie di vita quotidiana, le sue fotografie si avvicinano ai loro soggetti sempre con gentilezza e con una forma di amore, mai sovraccaricando o esasperando i toni, visioni delicate che formano un mosaico in continua espansione del presente della Federazione Russa. Seguendo le sue storie ci si sente davvero dentro quei luoghi, pur restando incapaci di cogliere una visione globale, dall'alto (quella visione d'insieme spesso troppo inseguita da tanti lavori sulla Russia), ma scoprendo sempre qualcosa in più di quel mondo, immagine dopo immagine.

Igor Starkov, Yamal, 2008

Igor Starkov's website is an amazing joyous flow of images, a breath of fresh air from a documentary photography full of lightness, honesty and simplicity. Whether they deal with critical issues, little private stories, remote places or everyday life, his photographs always approach their subject matter with gentleness and love, never exasperating what they are showing, delicate visions from the Russian universe that compose an impressive and evergrowing mosaic of the present time of the Federation. His stories make us viewers feel as if we are inside those stories, unable to get any kind of big picture (that kind of big picture so often overstated by too many works about Russia), but still discovering more and more about that world, picture by picture.

Igor Starkov, St Petersburg, 2006