Tag Archives: Moscow

Andy Freeberg’s uncanny portraits of Russian museum guards

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Yuri Kugachs Before the Dance, State Tretyakov Gallery, 2009.
From the Guardians series Andy Freeberg

In the art museums of Russia, women sit in the galleries and guard the collections. When you look at the paintings and sculptures, the presence of the women becomes an inherent part of viewing the artwork itself. I found the guards as intriguing to observe as the pieces they watch over.

In conversation they told me how much they like being among Russias great art. A woman in Moscows State Tretyakov Gallery Museum said she often returns there on her day off to sit in front of a painting that reminds her of her childhood home. article writing submission . Links backlinks blog comments . Another guard travels three hours each day to work, since at home she would just sit on her porch and complain about her illnesses, as old women do. She would rather be at the museum enjoying the people watching, surrounded by the history of her country.

Andy Freeberg

See and read more about Freeberg’s current exhibition, Guardians, at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University.

The Syrian Arms Race: Photographs by Yuri Kozyrev

In the last week of June, at an airfield outside Moscow, Russia laid out a smorgasbord of military hardware—including everything from tanks to anti-aircraft batteries—and invited some of the most militaristic nations in the world do some pleasant summer shopping. Meat was grilled in barbecue pits, comely models stood around in mini-skirts, ’80s music and obnoxious techno pounded through the speakers, and once a day, a choreographer from the Bolshoi Theater staged a “tank ballet” of twirling war machines that was grandiloquently titled, “Unconquerable and Legendary.”

Welcome to the deceptively titled Forum for Technologies in Machine Building, the biennial Russian arms bazaar that President Vladimir Putin inaugurated in 2010. Delegations from Iran, Bahrain, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, among many others, attended the expo this year, and spent their time ogling cruise missiles, climbing into armored jeeps and trying out the most famous—and most deadly—Russian weapon of them all: the Kalashnikov assault rifle, which is thought to hold the stomach-turning honor of having killed more people than any other weapon in the history of man.

On the afternoon of June 28, TIME followed around the delegation to the arms bazaar from Syria, who, like many of the participants, would not legally be able to buy their weapons in the West (the TIME magazine story is available to subscribers here). For the past 16 months, Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar Assad have brutally tried to crush a homegrown rebellion, which has already cost around 15,000 lives, including thousands of women and children. The U.S. and Europe have responded by banning weapons sales to Syria, and along with their allies in the Arab world, they have pushed for an international arms embargo against Assad’s government. But Russia, the world’s second largest arms dealer after the U.S., has used its veto power in the U.N. to block these sanctions. With around $4 billion in weapons contracts to fulfill for its Syrian clients, Russia has continued supplying arms to Damascus, which gets nearly all of its weapons from Russia.

It was impossible to tell what, if anything, the Syrians came to the Moscow arms bazaar to purchase. Such deals would be signed behind closed doors, and both sides declined to comment. Colonel Isam Ibrahim As’saadi, the military attache at the Syrian embassy in Moscow, chaperoned the three officials in town from Damascus, and they would only say that they came to Moscow especially to attend the fair. The items that seemed to interest them most that day were armored military vehicles, trucks equipped with roof-mounted rocket launchers and brand new Kalashnikov assault rifles. Andrei Vishnyakov, the head of marketing for Izhmash, the company that created the AK-47, spent more than an hour selling them on the virtues of the firm’s new sniper rifles and machine guns. Before handing the head of the Syrian delegation a silencer-equipped AK-104, Vishnyakov said: “This weapon is perfect for close-quarters combat, house to house.” The Syrian official then lifted the gun’s sight to his eye and pointed it across the crowded pavilion, no doubt wondering how useful it could be back home.

Simon Shuster is TIME’s Moscow reporter.

Yuri Kozyrev is a contract photographer for TIME and was named the 2011 Photographer of the Year in the Pictures of the Year International competition.

Pictures of the Week: May 18 — May 25

From India’s Sufi Muslim Urs Festival and the first intercontinental flight of the Solar Impulse to a suicide bombing of military soldiers in Sana’a and the beginning of Egypt’s presidential election, TIME’s photo department presents the best images of the week.

Max Sher, Nikita Beketov, 21, student, fan of the series Brak po Zaveshaniu (Marriage by Will)

Max Sher, Nikita Beketov, 21, student, fan of the series Brak po Zaveshaniu (Marriage by Will)

Max Sher

Nikita Beketov, 21, student, fan of the series Brak po Zaveshaniu (Marriage by Will),
, 2012
Website – MaxSher.com

Born in St. Petersburg, raised in Siberia and educated in Siberia and France, Max Sher took up photography in 2006. His work (personal and commissioned) has since appeared in Courrier International, Monocle, Esquire (Russia), le Monde, Libération, Ogoniok, Independent Magazine, Afisha, Bolshoi Gorod, Russian Reporter, Snob, GEO Traveler, Foto8, Private, Newsweek Japan, etc. and was exhibited in St.Petersburg, Vienna, Moscow, Bratislava, among others. Max was nominated for KLM Paul Huf Awards in 2008. He is currently based in Moscow.

Preview: Photomonth Krakow Poland

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Polia, from the Kids I series, 2000, and #2, from the Armygirls series, 2001 Siergiej Bratkow.
Courtesy of Regina Gallery, London & Moscow.

The Krakow Photomonth festival is always a feast for the eyes and the intellect. This year (its 10th anniversary) is offering up a wonderful eclectic mix of young, old, traditional, anarchic and real-time digital interaction photography. Lots of associated events run throughout the month, too. SEO Experts search engine marketing . See the preview, and read about some of the many highlights in Lens Culture.

Pictures of the Week: May 4 – May 11

From violence in Cairo and France’s presidential elections to flash floods in Nepal and the 138th Kentucky Derby, TIME’s photo department presents the best images of the week.

The Girls of Chechnya

In 2010, when she was working for a news agency in Moscow, Diana Markosian asked to be sent to Chechnya. The photographer, who is Russian but studied in the United States, was 20 years old and curious about the history of the embattled region.

“They wouldn’t send me so I decided to go by myself,” she remembers. “Grozny became my destination and later became my home.”

Markosian went back repeatedly after that first visit and soon became a specialist in covering a region where, she says, many of her colleagues don’t want to go. She moved to Chechnya last November to live there full-time. But, she says, her close relationship with the area doesn’t mean that it’s not a risky place to live and work—kidnappings are frequent, she says—or that such risk does not affect her photographs. Although Russian leaders declared the region normalized and peaceful three years ago today, following more than a decade of wars against rebels, life is still fraught. They may not appear in the frames, but Chechen authorities are the unseen presence in the work shown in this gallery, a personal project through which Markosian addresses the lives of girls growing up in Chechnya.

“It’s one thing to come here for a week like I used to do. It’s another to start living here, and not only hear what these women are going through but actually experience it yourself,” she says.

Markosian says that Chechnya has experienced a wave of Islamicization since the collapse of the Soviet Union: religious dress codes are mandatory, young (and polygamous) marriages are frequent and gender roles are increasingly conservative. The president, Ramzan Kadyrov, has said publicly that women are the property of their husbands. And at the same time, high unemployment has meant that many young women who are already becoming mothers still live with their own parents.

For Markosian, this has meant that—after she was told by security officers that her belt full of lenses made her look like a suicide bomber—she carries a handbag rather than the photographer’s gear bag to which she was accustomed, and that she has gotten used to being questioned or having her photographs deleted by officers. “As a regular citizen I don’t feel danger,” she says, “but just because I’m doing something a little out of the ordinary, especially for a woman, I’m looked at more carefully.”

It has also changed her working process. Because of what she says is widespread but justified distrust, people are wary of being shown doing anything that could be perceived as unusual. Something as seemingly innocent as a photograph of a woman smoking a cigarette could have dire consequences. The fear of being different has been a particular obstacle for photographing teenagers, as their parents are worried about what might happen if their children are seen as nonconforming.

But Markosian says that, by spending weeks with her subjects before taking a single photograph, she has been able to gain the access necessary for the project. And, in doing so, she says she has found these women to be a mirror for Chechnya as a whole. “That entire idea of a generation building itself and the resilience these girls have really motivated me,” she says. “They are trying to make something of themselves at the same time that this region is trying to build after almost two decades of war.”

Diana Markosian is a photographer based in Chechnya. See more of her work here.

Pictures of the Week, January 27 – February 3

From deadly clashes in Syria and Egypt, to the first anniversary of the Tahrir square uprising and the walk-up to this year’s Super Bowl, TIME’s photo department presents the best images of the week.