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Jens Olof Lasthein April 9, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Romania, Russia.
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Arkhangelsk, Russia (top) & Gurahont, Romania from the book “White Sea Black Sea”

Jens Olof Lasthein (b. 1964, Sweden) lives in Stockholm and is working as a freelance photographer for magazines as well as with self initiated projects.  He graduated from the Nordic  Photography School in 1992. Jens has had about thirty-five solo exhibitions at galleries, museums and festivals in Europe and Asia, and has participated in several group shows. His book Moments in Between (2000), with pictures from the wars in former Yugoslavia, was selected by Martin Parr and Gerry Badger for The Photobook: A History, vol II (2006). The pictures above are from his book White Sea Black Sea (2008).

About the Photographs:

”Since my first travels in Eastern Europe during the early eighties I’ve understood that the feeling of homecoming has nothing to do with one´s geographical origin. During the years 2001-2007 I traveled to areas along the new eastern border of the European Union, from Arkhangelsk on the White Sea to Odessa on the Black Sea photographing the daily life of the people I met. Basically the idea of these pictures is to take the viewer on a visual journey through the borderland between European East and West. Not claiming any kind of truth, the conditions are decided by myself alone, in relation to my own internal boundaries: What is it like being European? An attempt to open up some borders – my own, and maybe even others.”

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Graeme Jennings November 2, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Russia.
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Kuliga, Russia 2008

Graeme Jennings (b. 1978, New Zealand)  grew up in Auckland and completed a course in photography at the Unitec Institute of Technology in 1998. In 2001 he moved to England and freelanced as a news photographer and traveled extensively throughout Eastern Europe. Graeme has  photographed the impact of landmines in Bosnia Herzegovina for the NGO Norwegian Peoples Aid. He has also under taken assignments in Azerbaijan, and the southern Russian republics of Chechnya and Ingushetia, where he has photographed internally displaced populations for the Danish Refugee Council.  Graeme’s work has  appeared in GEO and the British Journal of photography.  In 2008 he moved to the States and is currently based in Washington D.C.

About the Photograph:

“I took this photograph in the small village of Kuliga – A former collective farm with a population of twelve. The village is located in the Komi Republic, a region located in the far north of the Russian European plain.  The elderly woman in the foreground is on her way home after visiting  a friend for tea in a nearby house. Following the dissolution of socialism and the subsequent economic reforms of the 1990’s, the collective farms and state run enterprises that provided a means of employment and prosperity for rural villages were forced to close. The few who have remained are mostly the old and alienated, struggling with a lack of identity and resolve. With an entire ideology suddenly gone, along with the lack of employment opportunities, the social fabric of the Russian village has slowly fallen apart.  Of the approximate 150,000 of Russia’s rural villages, over 13,000 have been abandoned altogether as more and more people migrate to the cities.”

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Guy Martin October 23, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Russia.
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Young Cossack Recruits, Novopavlovsk, Russia 2007

Guy Martin (b.1983, England) graduated from the University of Wales in 2006. He began pursuing long term projects, one of which ‘Trading over the Borderline’ won him the Guardian/Observer Hodge student award. His other projects include work in: Georgia, Sudan, Uganda, Turkey, Northern Iraq, Russia. His photographs have appeared in the Guardian, Observer, Sunday Times, FADER Magazine, the British Journal of Photography amongst other publications. In 2007 and 2009 Guy was named in the MAGENTA foundations top emerging photographers. In 2008 he also had work from his Cossack project shown in the National Portrait Gallery. Guy is now based in Cornwall, England, continuing his work on personal projects and freelancing for national and international magazines. He is represented internationally by Zuma Press.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph is part of a three year personal project looking at the rise and re-birth of the Cossack movement in Southern Russia and the Caucasuss. My initial goal was to spend time in Cossack only military schools, finding out what was so different about Cossack traditions and customs. This picture was made on a baking hot spring day. My interpreter told me that there was going to be a Cossack summer camp opening in the district and that we should go down and try and visit the place and speak to a few of the residents. The image was made almost immediately after stepping out of the car. My previous experience of Cossacks in the region were from veterans of the Chechen war, Afghanistan and disillusioned, nationalist, adolescent boys desperate for a fight and to feel part of something. The girl, almost too pretty to be wearing combat fatigues stood out from the crowd of boys she was with. She looked at me for a split second and then turned back into the crowd. Walking past her later I found she was carrying a loaded handgun.”

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Michal Chelbin December 8, 2008

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Xenia in the Playground, Russia 2003

Michal Chelbin (b.1974, Israel) is currently based in New York City. She has been shown in solo and group  exhibits in the US and Europe, most recently at the Andrea Meislin Gallery in New York. Her recent publications include Art Forum, American Photo, PDN , New York Arts Magazine, Aperture, B&W Magazine, and the LA Times. Her editorial work has been published in the New York Times, The New Yorker and  New York Magazine. Michal’s monograph entitled “Strangely Familiar: Acrobats, Athletes and other traveling troupes” was published in April 2008 by Aperture. Her next monograph will be published by Twin Palms in fall 2009.

About the Photograph:
Like with other subjects I worked a lot with this girl, . She was one of those people who didn’t need any instructions in front of the camera. She didn’t understand Hebrew and I didn’t speak Russian but I felt we understood each other perfectly It was the first color image of this series. I actually shot it in black and white  but when we finished, and started to go back to the apartment something didn’t feel right. So I returned, made the whole thing again, this time in color. It’s entitled “Xenia on the Playground”,  and I’d like to think of my playground as somewhere between the private and the public, between fiction and documentary.

Alexandra Demenkova October 22, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Russia.
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From the series “Territory of Broken Dreams” 2007

Alexandra Demenkova (b.1980, Russia)  graduated from the Herzen State Pedagogical University with a degree in Foreign Languages. She has been a documentary photographer since 2004 and worked with Interpress Photo Agency (2003) and the New Eurasia Foundation (2006, 2007) and currently works with Agency Photographer.ru. Alexandra was awarded Best Photo Correspondent of the Year (St. Petersburg, 2004-2006) and was a the finalist of Descubrimientos, PhotoEspana in 2007. Alexandra was  part of the World Press Photo Masterclass in 2007 and was chosen as an artist in residence with Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunstenin in 2008. She participated in exhibitions and festivals in Russia, Kazakhstan, UK, Finland, Poland, Turkey and Spain.

About the Photograph:

“This photo was taken in Shuvaevo, about 300 km northeast of Moscow. For many inhabitants of big cities in Russia, the rest of the country simply doesn’t exist. Yet you don’t have to go far from Moscow or Saint Petersburg to find dying villages, where people live in a state of extreme deprivation with abandoned old people who have spent their lives working on collective farms; middle-aged men and women who have no jobs, rarely young people or children. Villages that used to be thriving, with shops, libraries and clubs, now number only a handful of occupied houses. There is no community spirit or social life. Instead of a bucolic rural life, there is despair, alcohol abuse, crime and solitude. This is a phenomenon of life in Russia, villages that have disappeared in a country which used to be an agricultural one. Skachok, a man who lives alone and is an alcoholic, is going to drink a cup of substitute vodka, which costs 17 rubles per half liter, less than one US dollar.

Rob Hornstra October 6, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Russia.
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Old and New Russia, 2008

Rob Hornstra (b. 1975) is a Dutch  documentary photographer. In 2004 he graduated  from the Academy of Arts based in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Previously he studied Social and Legal Services and worked as a probation officer for one year. His photography can best be seen as a combination of these two areas of study. Rob won the Dutch Photo Academy Award with his book ‘Communism & Cowgirls’. He was commissioned by the IPRN European Union to work in Iceland which was published as his second book ‘Roots of the Rúntur’. His work is represented by Flatland Gallery. He  is working on two projects currently: the changing face of the former Soviet Union and  a documentary about the district where he lives in Utrecht. Rob is also founder of FOTODOK – Space for Documentary Photography.

About the Photograph:

“Andrey (left) is heavily addicted to drugs, HIV positive, suffers open TBC and doesn’t feel his legs after he missed the artery in his groin while injecting drugs. He doesn’t get any help from state health organizations because he is a drug addict. “I am sure I will die soon. But I am not afraid. Nothing will scare me anymore” The woman on the right is an employee of the cement factory in a small suburb of the East Siberian industrial city Angarsk. The inhabitants of Cement Town once lived to the rhythm of the factory bell. There was work, the children went to school and a social services system took care of basic needs. The factory played a central role in this. In the 90s, however, everything fell apart. Rival clans fought relentlessly for control of the cement factory. The most difficult years were 1996-1998. The factory was plundered and bankrupt.”

Simon Roberts September 26, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Russia.
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Port officials, Vladivostok, Far East Russia, 2004

Simon Roberts (b.1974, England) graduated from The University of Sheffield (1996) followed by a Distinction in Photography from the National Council for the Training of Journalists. His photographs have been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago and the Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai and are held in a numerous collections. He has been published in Granta, The Sunday Times Magazine,  Details,  Esquire, Der Spiegel, Le Monde and others. Simon received the ‘Ian Parry Award’ (1998), a ‘Getty Grant of Editorial Photography’ (2006) and the ‘Bright Spark Award’ from the Magenta Foundation in Toronto (2006). He was a student at the ‘World Press Photo  Masterclass (2003) and identified by PDN’s 30 Emerging Artists (2004). More recently he received a grant from the Arts Council England to support “We English.” Motherland, his first monograph, was published in March 2007 by Chris Boot Ltd. He is represented by The Photographers’ Gallery in London and Klompching Gallery in New York.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph was taken three months into my year’s journey across Russia. Vladivostok, literally ‘Lord of the East’, is located less than 100 kilometers East of the Chinese border, and just across the Sea of Japan. It is the home port of the Russian Navy’s Pacific Fleet. I came across these port officials early one morning during their patrol of the port and asked them to pose for a portrait. It was a fleeting moment, they weren’t able to stop and talk. However, in this split second, the photograph has captured their formal postures and apparent pride in their work. I’m particularly taken by the details in the image, note the over sized hat and jacket of the man on the right.”

Rafal Milach August 4, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Russia.
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From the series “Young Russia” 2008

Rafal Milach (b.1978, Poland) holds an MA in fine art from the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice, and a BA in photography from the Institute for Creative Photography, Czech Republic. He is a regular contributor to Polish magazines such as Przekroj and Newsweek Poland. His international publication credits include Die Zeit, Le Monde Economie, Newsweek and The Guardian Weekend Magazine. His work has been exhibited in Poland, Austria, Spain, Germany, and Japan. Rafal participated in the World Press Photo Joop Swart Master Class in 2007 and is represented by Anzenberger Agency.

About the Photograph:

“I shot this picture of 28 year old Denis in his bed in Moscow. His main occupation is doing nothing. He used to work a lot as a young boy traveling all round Russia and Eastern Europe with her mother. He comes from Kazakhstan but has lived in Moscow since he was 11. He misses the Soviet times when people where closer one to another. Today everybody runs like crazy.” On a technical note Rafal remarked “I try to shoot all my personal projects on film because it makes me calmer. I shoot digitally for my daily commercial and editorial work so when I have chance to shoot on film I do it with the greatest pleasure. Its another way of concentration and thinking. At least in my case. You have to think very carefully what you want to shoot if you have only 10 frames on film.”

Mila Pavan July 15, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Russia.
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Military school cadet waiting alone to return home. Siberia, Russia.

Mila Pavan (b.1977, Italy) studied photography at ICP in New York, USA. She worked in the International Center for communication research and communication development Fabrica in Treviso as a photographer  and for newspapers and magazines such as Die Zeit, Süddeutsche Zeitung, FAZ and Colors. Her work is focused on social and human rights stories. Recent projects include life in Russia, and pedeatric hospitals in the Ukraine. She is currently based in Germany.

About the Photograph:

“I first traveled to Moscow to document the lives of old people living in extreme poverty and it developed into a photography book “Above Zero” a journey into the city scapes and waste lands of Russia, focusing on faces, characters and the human condition in this country. Russia is a country of extremes: its communist past and its turbo-capitalist present, its crowded cities and its vast open spaces, the extremely rich and very poor, the colors of summer and the darkness of winter. There is no socialist regime anymore, but democracy is still fragile. Maybe it’s true that the Russian soul is simply too deep to fathom? All these fascinating contradictions have brought me back to Russia time and time again in order to try to understand this seemingly endless country and its enigmatic people.”

Justyna Mielnikiewicz July 7, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Georgia.
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Young Russian tourists visit an Orthodox monastery. Abkhazia, 2007

Justyna Mielnikiewicz was born in Poland in 1973 and has been working as a professional photographer for seven years. She graduated from Jagiellonian University in Krakow with a Masters in New Media and Culture Management. After finishing university she began to work as photojournalist with the daily newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza. In 2001 she became a freelance photographer and moved to Tbilisi, Georgia to work on a long term project on the South Caucasus. The project was awarded an honorable mention for the 2003 Dorothea Lange/ R. Taylor Prize and received a grant from the European Culture Foundation. Her photographs have appeared in: Newsweek, Paris Match, The New York Times, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, among others and were screened at Arles in 2005. Her work is distributed by Cosmos Agency , World Picture News and Eve Photographers.

About the Photograph:

Every summer Russian tourists arrive by the thousands at a Black Sea resort area they regard as their own. They come with urges shared by tourists the world over, for sun and drink and days lounging on the shore. Their destination is officially Georgia. But in their minds it is not Georgia at all. It is Abkhazia, one of the thorniest issues dividing Russia and Western-supported Georgia in the volatile Caucasus. It is one of four small regions in the southwestern reaches of the former Soviet Union whose status, 15 years on, remains unresolved. The others — South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh and Transnistria — are in Georgia, Azerbaijan and Moldova, respectively. Photographers Journal: Abkhazia.

Donald Weber March 9, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Russia.
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weber_russia1.jpg
From the series: Bastard Eden: Chernobyl At Twenty

Originally from Toronto, Canada, Donald Weber is an award-winning photographer currently residing between Moscow and Kiev. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007, and has also received the Lange-Taylor Documentary Grant, awarded annually by the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, with writer Larry Frolick, and a World Press Award. Donald was recently named PDN ‘S 30 new and emerging photographers.

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