What happens when photographers from all over the world, some Getty editors and a few curators meet up in the south of France? Right, they booze up. At this year’s “Visa pour l’image“ photofestival in Perpignan the champagne coolers were just a busy as the exhibitions, so it seemed. Let us assume that was due to the raging heat though. For the sober ones, the 28th edition of the gathering had a lot in place: over 20 quality exhibitions were located in historic buildings all over the pictoresque town. In the evenings, giant screenings and prize-givings took place in the yard of an ancient monastery. From an OSTLOOK perspective, two prize-winning photographers have to be pointed out.

“Dacha” is one of those russian words, such as “sputnik” and “perestroyka”, which became untranslated internationally used. What is actually a dacha? Commonly it would mean a quite small summer house with a modest garden somewhere out of the city. The dacha season lasts basically from May to September, because regularly houses are not heated and it’s also a time, when one can plant vegetables, flowers and herbs in the garden and children have three months of summer holidays at school.

Mika Sperling Selfportrait

Mika Sperling Selfportrait

Mika Sperling born in Norilsk, Russia, moved to Germany as a baby and grew up in Darmstadt. Last year she graduated in Darmstadt with her work “Breeda en Sestre -Brothers and sisters” under the mentoring of Andrea Diefenbach. Now she studies in the masterclass in Bielefeld.

First impression

Arriving in Russia

Arriving at the same place over and over again always challenges me. People might change, they might remain the same, but my eyes have changed and they way I look at the place and them. I came with two ideas to Russia this time.

Mika Sperling born in Norilsk, Russia, moved to Germany with her parents when she was a baby and grew up in Darmstadt. Last year she graduated in Darmstadt with her work “Breeda en Sestre -Brothers and sisters” under the mentoring of Andrea Diefenbach. Now she studies in the masterclass in Bielefeld.

I am sitting by the window, looking at another faceless, bleak panel house. Every day and every night this ridiculous block of flats, a shelter for thousands of anonymous lives, stares at me with its empty eyes, not letting me forget about where I will return.

A Canadian photographer Jen Osborne explores the unique phenomena of the ‘Indian Hobbyism’ throughout Eastern Europe in her work “Red West”. The hobbyism attempts to simulate Native Americans way of life, traditions and reenact some notable battles. There are dozens of pow wows (spiritual gatherings), camps, adventure parks arranged through Europe. The photographer attended different gatherings of the hobbiest through Russia, Poland, Czech Republic Germany from 2011 until 2015 as well as the film settings left from the popular series Winnetou.

16RedWest

Thiessen_Ira_PrivetGermania_07

Ira Thiessen researches a complex identity of Russian Germans who returned back to their historical motherland in the series of staged portraits “Privet Germania” (Hello, Germany).

After 30 years of the Chernobyl disaster Jadwiga Bronte documents the lives of people who suffer the consequences of the tragedy. The Polish-born photographer follows a group of disabled people who are living in “closed governmental institutions called ‘Internats’ which are something between an asylum, orphanage and hospice”.  Internats are hidden from public view, and even some Belarusians themselves are unaware of the reality of life inside. These are places where tens of thousands of people spend their entire lives.