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Monika Bulaj June 29, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Belarus.
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Tartars Mosque. Minsk, Belarus 2004

Monika Bulaj (b. 1966, Poland) studied  Philosophy at Warsaw University. She has explored the world of nomads, minorities, immigrants and outcasts in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Monika has published six books of the photography and creative non -fiction reportage and has participated in numerous exhibitions. Her photographs have been published in: La Republica, Corriere della Sera, GEO, National Geographic and others. Her work has been awarded by: The Aftermath Project Grant 2010, Bruce Chatwin special price for photography “The Absolute Eye” 2009, and the TED Global Fellowship 2011. She is based in Italy.

About the Photograph:

“The Belorussia Tartars are an incredible synthesis between Christianity and Islam. They read the Koran in Slavic, written in Arabic letters. They make use of incense in their Mosques, and spread it with the same passion as the Popes. They sing the Salah, the Muezzin prayers following the Byzantine polyphonic music. They cover the bodies of the dead with fragments of their Sacred Books, challenging one of the strictest Islamic taboos, that forbids  one to set the Koran under the ground. But there is more: the sins of the dead can be alleviated by the living, with the same Catholic logic of indulgences. Once a year they visit the graves of their dead to share food with them. They cry and talk, as the Byelorussian farmers of the good old times. They pray only on Fridays, but for hours, much longer than any other Muslims. They have survived the darkest years of Stalinism. They paid unaffordable taxes to the regime and have managed to always keep their Mosques open.”

Julien Goldstein May 21, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Belarus.
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School near Minsk, Belarus 2010

Julien Goldstein (b. 1979, France) decided to pursue a career as a photojournalist  working as an assistant at Magnum. Drawing on his Romanian origins he explored its history and it’s transition from a socialist republic to a democratic state. He then went on to explore the  former Soviet Republics, a report later exhibited in Visa pour l’image in 2003. Being particularly interested in Turkey and the geopolitical issues related to the Kurdish people, he completed a five-year project entitled ‘Kurdistan, The Anger Of A People Without Rights’, for which he was awarded a Lagardere Foundation grant in December 2009. A book of this work was released in January 2012. His photographs are regularly published in the French and international press, including: Geo France, Le Monde,  The New York Times, Newsweek, Spiegel and others. He is represented by Reportage by Getty Images.

About the Photograph:

“This picture was shot during an assignment for Geo in Belarus. The general idea of the subject was to update the situation of the country on the eve of presidential elections in December 2010. This country is led by Alexander Lukashenko, long dismissed as the last dictator in Europe. His methods are annoying and intriguing the European Union and Russia. I went to a village near Minsk, to photograph a kolkhoz (agricultural cooperative where land, tools, livestock are shared). The kolkhoz was hardly a model example. My presence in the agricultural farm was quickly banned, so I decided to visit the village school which is also managed collectively. After I was forced to take a tour of the school, I entered a kindergarten classroom where the children were preparing to take a nap.”

Andrei Liankevich November 21, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Belarus.
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Elections in Minsk, Belarus 2006

Born in 1981 in Belarus and based in Minsk, Andrei Liankevich attended the Belarus State University, where he received a Bachelor Degree of Economy in 2004. In 2004-5 he studied at the Caucasus Media Institute in Yerevan, Armenia concentrating on the Yezidi minority in Armenia and was awarded a distinction for this work from World Press Photo. Since 2006 Andrei Liankevich lectures on “Photojournalism” at an European Humanitarian University in Vilnius, Lithuania. His works have been published in leading Belarussian newspapers like Nasha Niva, Leader, CD, Komsomolskaya Pravda and in international publications such as New York Times, Le Figaro, Newsweek (Russian edition), Die Zeit, Ogoniok (Russia), Gazeta Wyborcza and Rzecz Pospolita (Poland), Rigas laiks (Latvia). His work has been exhibited in Poland, Germany, Norway and Belarus.

About the Photograph:

“A member of election commission observing the voting process during the  president election in 2006. Lukashenka’s re-election didn’t spark the kind of oppositional momentum which many had hoped. Belarus, at least for now, will not follow in the revolutionary footsteps of the Ukraine and Georgia. Although the events in Belarus may not have reached a tipping point for the Lukashenka regime, they have marked a change in the nature of the Belarusian opposition. Despite a concerted effort by the Belarusian government to destroy, undermine and embarrass the opposition, the “denim revolutionaries” have emerged as a force to be reckoned with. The night of the Presidential Elections was the beginning of protests and the largest gathering (of approximately 20,000 people) in October Square in Minsk. Following this, young activists set up camp and for four days people came to show their solidarity and protest the dubious election results.”

Bill Crandall September 17, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Belarus.
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Outside Minsk Belarus, 2000

Bill Crandall‘s formative years in Washington DC were spent with a guitar instead of a camera, but eventually photography became his mode of expression. His photos balance art and documentary, using an intuitive, personal approach. His images have appeared in magazines such as  Newsweek, Le Figaro, New York Times Magazine and PHOTO among others. He has also worked for newspapers such as the Washington Post and New York Times on a regular basis. Bill has received two grants for his long-term ‘East’ photo project and won awards from the National Press Photographers Association. From 2000-2002 Bill also worked as photo director for the former Balkan Times website. In 2006 he was curator for a major photo exhibition on the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, which was presented at a US Congressional event and at the United Nations. Crandall is a founding member of Metro Collective, a group of 12 photographers worldwide who work in the artistic documentary tradition.

About the Photograph:

“This image is from Kuropaty, the former killing fields on the outskirts of Minsk. Every year people come to memorialize the up to 250,000 people killed there in Stalin-era purges. Bodies are still being found. The event is seen by authorities as a rallying point for the opposition, so the KGB usually tags along and films everyone. Like most demonstrations in Belarus, there is risk for those who attend. It was taken on the last day of my first visit to Belarus in 2000. I was exhausted and almost didn’t go, especially considering that it involved a 15km march from the city center to the site. I remember towards the end the light was fading fast, my young fixers were urging me to leave with them. I’m glad I hung around a little longer, for me the image reflects the stoic nature of the people there and their deep sense of history and memory.”

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