CONSTRUCTION. PHOTOGRAPHY IN SEARCH OF APPROACH
by Steve Bisson


Group exhibition of emerging Russian photographers become a part of IX International Festival of Photography “PHOTOPARADE IN UGLICH” organized with participation of FotoDepartament.

Russian Federation, UglichPlaces: Palace of Culture  / The House of Friendship / Art school (Detskaya khudozhestvennaya shkola)Petr Antonov. A Model for a City
06.08.2015 - 30.08.2015

Anastasia Bogomolova ‘Lookbook’, Arthur Bondar ‘Where my Childhood Died’, Julia Borissova ‘D.O.M’, Alexander Gorbunov ‘Practice’, Yury Gudkov ‘Keep an Eye on What You See’, Mikhail Domozhilov ‘Ultras’, Irina Emets ‘Five Steps Away’, Irina Zadorozhnaia ‘The Drill Charted a Point and Bore a Hole. Input /output. Where is the Creature: Inside or Outside?’, Vik Laschenov ‘Exs’, Dmitry Lookianov ‘Instant Tomorrow’, Jana Romanova ‘Immerse’, Igor Samolet ‘Be Happy!’, Anastasia Tailakova ‘Not Applicable’, Danila Tkachenko ‘Escape’, Elena Kholkina ‘Pink’, Victor Yuliev ‘All the Ways Go to Water’, Irina Yulieva ‘Broken Knees’.
Curators: photographer Jana Romanova and Nadya Sheremetova, FotoDepartament

© Petr Antonov, ‘A Model for a City’

Photography is attractive due to the simplicity of the mechanism: to get a certain result, you push a button. It is attractive because photographers are doing what numerous manuals require us to do to attain happiness – they’re doing exactly what interests them. If you’re thinking about becoming a photographer, entering the system, you’ll find a rich variety of schools, courses and workshops. All of them are parts of the mechanisms of principles and methods’ translation that must be used to achieve the ultimate goal – creating a “product”, which has a material and nonmaterial value. But if we’re trying to figure out what it is transmitted through photography education, a paradox emerges: a diligent student who’s absorbing the language of one photographer is risking finding himself in industry’s back seat, producing copies uninteresting to anyone. And repeating, “sharpening your skills” often is inapplicable to photography. The photographer’s method if it stands out, is incommunicable and unique.

Can the project’s process be broken down into understandable components? Prescribe all the steps and sub-options of the steps, analyze the favorite or not favorite, but successful with the audience, projects? Clearly imagine what are the mechanics of success? What this construction ‘photo-project’ consists of?  It’s possible to try. And even lay variables: you take left, you go into private context. You take right, it’s politics. The only thing that any scheme doesn’t take into account is author’s individuality, his questions to all life processes and his doubts.

© Danila Tkachenko, ‘Escape’

It turns out that the method of each author is not so much in the prescribed passages and preparatory stages, but in the individual impulses, intentions, the ability and the willingness to speak out loud – not with words, but with a capacious and passionate image, that extends and focuses the ability to look openly at the world and the surrounding situation. Ability, the only important thing to the author.

The author’s position happens somewhere between defined points of work, somewhere in the decision-making process, slips as a constant shortage, dissatisfaction with results. Everything which is already learned by others, assimilated and understood – all of this is not enough as a medium. Not enough to catch the viewer. But development is impossible also without of what is learned.

In front of us a tangle of knowledge, rules and steps beyond the rules. As if photography is in constant search for new forces, with which it’s able to respond to modernity and talk about it. Because regardless of art or journalism and documentary “confessions” affiliation, photography like any expression is “the need for interrelation between art and the era of its creation and the need to push forward the demand for each individual work of art to this era” – says art critic and art theorist Terry Smith. Based on this setting, an ever-changing method is formed for working on a project, in which stable photography loses its functions. The author ceases to stick to clear definitions and considers and creates an infinite number of strategies.

© Julia Borissova, ‘D.O.M.’ 

As curators, working on the programmes for “Photoparade in Uglich” festival, artificially separated with art and documentary photography borders, we decided to try in form of an exhibition to «separate» a photographic space expression of young Russian authors. Create a general map and follow it with two different routes. For us, this exhibition is more like a research into the ability of art and documentary photography to speak different languages. Because we see the border between them transparent, almost nonexistent. And the general movement, more like a collaborative, bustling and vibrant flow of mutual interest and the inability to change without each other.

We look at all gathered projects from a distance and in short comments try to determine the components of the author’s method. The same as the key factor, step that led to expression of the final form of the taken image, the items from working with borrowed material or an archive, displacements, interaction with people or technology, installations.

© Alexander Gorbunov, ‘Practice’

We write «blind folded», artificially restricting ourselves with rules of so called art and documentary approaches, and only in the end we see if two positions coincide or not. We put ourselves in defining method conditions, as an opportunity to ask the author: how are you doing this? And how do you understand that you have to make the next step? How do you know that this is the right step? What happens in your head? How does it happen?

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