“Push the Sky Away” is a triptych, with each part of the work the consequence of what has gone before, as well as leading on to the next. It is a creative path that has given me an interest in the primeval cultures from which our own cultural codes have grown. As a consequence I attempt to extract an underlying structure, which I believe is unchanging and unchanged. My feeling is that this lies within the tra­dition of the emotions, rituals, and behavior – elements which are shared in com­mon across all cultures, and to which photography has access.

cover-polish-monthIn december OSTLOOK celebrates the month of Polish photography. This time we won’t only show projects about postsoviet Poland, we’ve also selected outstanding works which reflect contemporary issues of the neighbouring countries and complex personal stories. The Polish photography scene is active and passionate. International photography events like Fotofestiwal in Lodz, TIFF Festival in Wroclaw and Photomonth in Krakow are exposing emerging talents from all over the world. Platforms like „Fresh From Poland“ explore new trends, publish and promote upcoming Polish photographers. Collectives like „Sputnik“ or „People You May Know“ are working on diverse projects around the globe. We will feature a selection of emerging Polish artists that represent diverse perspectives of contemporary storytelling, covering personal, subjective, poetic, analytic and conceptual approaches.

Curated by Jewgeni Roppel

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.

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.

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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. 

Going over some old archival photographs, I couldn’t get rid of the strange feeling for some reason: people lived here their life and then died. Older you get, less emotion the photos cause. But the existential horror groves stronger. A few days ago I read that the Crimean authorities „banned the electronic music festival “Kazantip ” because of numerous violations of the law, including a lack of fire-prevention and anti-terrorism measurements.”

A Hannover based photographer Moritz Küstner has been tempted by the Eastern Europe for a long time. He is curious about the influences of the Soviet Union’s collapse on a life of different generations. He started learning Russian already at school following his fascination with the region. Initially he was interested in the annexation of Crimea as so but later focused on the destiny of a minority group leaving on the peninsula – Crimean Tatars.

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@ Moritz Küstner from “The silence is the sound of fear”

Crimea – who has not heard of it lately? In the good old days it was associated with champagne, Tatars, and the Black Sea. But since March 2014 the geopolitical rumble, culminating in a referendum, occupied the news and our minds.

In order to commemorate the events free of any judgement, OSTLOOK will present “crimea.raw“ throughout the whole month of March, in attempt to grasp the raw soul of this peninsula. Be prepared for some loud techno, empty beaches and artsy essays!

Anna Grzelewska is passionately observing a transformation of her daughter Julia from a child to a young woman in her longtime project „Julia Wannabe”.