Tag Archives: SãO Paolo

The Wrestlers of Chechnya: Photographs by Yuri Kozyrev

In 1994, when Russia invaded the breakaway region of Chechnya, Yuri Kozyrev, then a freelance photographer, captured some of the most iconic images of the ensuing war. It was too dangerous at the time to live in the Chechen capital of Grozny, which faced heavy Russian bombardment. So he and a group of other reporters (including Marie Colvin, who was killed this year while covering the siege of the Syrian city of Homs) took up residence at a kindergarten called Solnyshka (Sunshine), in the nearby town of Khasavyurt. Lying on the border between Chechnya and the neighboring Russian republic of Dagestan, this town of 130,000 suffered relatively little damage during the war, so journalists, as well as some of the Chechen rebels, used it as a place to rest and resupply before heading back into the war zone.

(For daily coverage of the 2012 Games, visit TIME’s Olympics blog)

In June, Kozyrev returned to Khasavyurt to photograph how the town—and its conflict—have evolved. Although heavy fighting ended with the Russian conquest of Chechnya in 2000, the war left behind an Islamist insurgency that Russia still struggles to quell. On an almost daily basis, rebels inspired by a radical sect of Sunni Islam called Salafism continue to clash with security forces in the region, costing hundreds of lives every year. In Khasavyurt, the Russian effort to counter their influence still scars the unpaved streets. In most neighborhoods, gutted homes mark the sites of “special operations,”the commando raids that use heavy artillery to flush out suspected insurgents. But the town has also been shaped by the central element of Russian soft power in the region: the development of wrestling schools. Much like soccer in the favelas of Sao Paolo and basketball in Harlem, wrestling in Khasavyurt is meant to serve as an inoculation against violence, or at least a distraction from it, by offering the local boys an outlet for their frustrations that does not involve ”going to the woods,” the Russian slang for joining the insurgency.

Every year, Moscow pumps roughly a million dollars into Khasavyurt’s five wrestling academies, which have produced an impressive crop of champions. In the past four Olympic cycles, freestyle wrestlers from Khasavyurt have brought home a total of eight gold medals, along with at least 12 world championship titles and countless trophies in national and European tournaments. At the Olympic Games in London, at least two wrestlers from Khasavyurt will compete to affirm the town’s nickname—The Foundry of Champions—which is scrawled on green signs near the central bazaar, showing the legendary Buvaysar Saytiev in the middle of a grapple.

During his visit in June, Kozyrev’s photography focused on Saytiev and his younger brother Adam, who have won four Olympic gold medals in freestyle wrestling between them. For more than a decade, the Saytiev brothers, who are ethnic Chechens, have served as somewhat reluctant poster boys for the notion of pacification through sport. Their wrestling schools have inspired thousands of young men from Khasavyurt to channel their strength into wrestling rather than rebellion, and Kozyrev spent much of his time photographing them train for the London Olympics. But away from the gyms, members of the Khasavyurt wrestling community revealed that the idea of sport as an antidote to extremism is not quite working out as planned. Some of the town’s leading athletes have started “going to the woods” in recent years, and an alarming number of them have been killed as insurgents during shootouts with police. No longer a haven from conflict, the wrestling schools of Khasavyurt, whose students are often as young as 8, have become recruiting ground for Islamists. As Kozyrev concluded after his visit: “This is a town that remains at war.”

Read more about the Chechen wrestlers of Khasavyurt on TIME.com

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.

Slideluck Potshow in Paris

Food For Your Eyes is delighted to team up with Slideluck Potshow  as curator of  the projection to bring for the first time into the City of Lights this international cultural phenomenon that combines a mulitimedia slideshow with a potluck dinner 

The SLIDELUCK POTSHOW PARIS event will be taking place on 23 June, 2010 in an enchanting venue, Le Comptoir Géneral on the banks of Canal Saint Martin, as  part of the 2010 global tour, launching in in May during New York Photo Festival.

For over ten years, Slideluck Potshow has been bringing his photo party  event to cities all over the world.  With 100 shows in over 40 cities around the world, SLPS has grown exponentially and has taken place in cities including New York, Berlin, Oslo, São Paolo, Milan, Los Angeles, Barcelona, Chicago, Mexico City, Nairobi, Copenhagen, Toronto, Seville, Rome, Bogotá, San Francisco, Madrid, Minneapolis, Stockholm, Rio de Janeiro, London Panama City, New Orleans, London and now, Paris.

Now with a brand new website,  Slideluck Potshow becomes a ressource for finding new talents

If you are in Paris, Wednesday 23 June, please come and join us for an evening of photography and other delights…

The work of over 40 Photographers has been selected for the projection : An eclectic mix of photojournalism, social documentary, street photography, personal narrative and evocative landscape

Natalie AYALA *  Romain ALARY  *  Christopher ANDERSON  *  Neil ATHERTON * Audrey BARDOU * Juliana BEASLEY * Steven BECKLY * Agnes BEN MEYER  * Carolle BENITAH * Ana BLOOM * Aglae BORY * David BURNETT * Olivier CABLAT  *  Arnaud CONTRERAS * Scarlett COTEN *  Bruce DAVIDSON  * Agnes DHERBEYS  * Giovanni DEL BRENNA * Estelle DOUGIER  * Julia GRINER * Laurent GUDIN * Soraya HOCINE *  Pierre HYBRE * In-Public  *  Helene JAYET *  Catherine LARRE * Malala ANDRIALAVIDRAZANA  * Antonio MARTINEZ *   Beaudoin MOUANDA * Kosuke OKAHARA * Jon ONGKIEHONG  * Pascal OTLINGHAUS  *  Louis QUAIL * Bruno QUINQUET * *  Markel REDONDO  *  Nick SHIFLET  * Gerard UFERAS  * Ana Lisa UNKURI  * Michael SAWYER  * Pieter TEN HOOPEN  * Patrick TOURNEBOEUF *

SLIDELUCK POTSHOW evening from 7.00 pm to 11.30 pm

Le Comptoir Général, 80 quai de Jemmapes, 75010 Paris

Slideluck Potshow Paris on Twitter @slideluckparis

UPDATE 1 : A fantastic turnout of people  enjoyed the photo party. They are very good review of the show here and here  And below a video by Didier de Fays, for the online magazine photographie.com

Slideluck Potshow Paris n°1 from Photographie on Vimeo.