Many Romanian Roma women identify themselves with such descriptions. In the past fortune-telling had a strong tradition within many travelling Roma groups wandering across the European area. Fortune telling abilities were primarily attributed to, in the main, older women, undoubtedly for their lifelong experiences. Their potential clients were to be found anywhere in the streets of the villages and towns where their caravans happened to have stopped. In my photographic collection I try to record the consequences of modernisation, which has inherently transformed this profession, which in itself balances on the thin divide between mysticism and showmanship for the client.

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Baku, Azerbaijan is the largest city in the Caucasus region. Being a city founded upon oil, it went through several oil booms accompanied by massive growth and construction. City Hall’s will to reconstruct the post-Soviet city using its own understanding of aesthetics led to a forced demolition of “outdated” buildings, to the detriment of those wishing to preserve cultural heritage and ancestral homes.

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“J.B. about men floating in the air” was inspired by the story of two Lithuanian-American pilots who tried to set a new world record by flying over the Atlantic into Eastern Europe in the early 1930s. I found a reference to the attempt in a Joseph Brodsky poem and decided to create my own ‘parallel world’ in black-and-white images.

Victory Park

An avatar walks into a bar… Or so the joke begins. Incarnating a protein cocktail, an alien sex worker, the sultry scent of a chrysanth and geopolitics, it is as much biographical as fictional, as immediate as foreign. An avatar of this kind is like a bottle rocket, a catalyst that can make a mob explode, regroup and occupy the nearest shopping mall. The punch line never comes: the figure of speech attains shape and hits a passerby right in her right eye.

„Nearly 25 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the unipolar has ceased to exist, and the empire is trying to regain its position in the region. Its power of influence radiates into the former Soviet republics, changing their attitudes and taking a variety of forms: the conflicts or accelerated national identity formation.  For past 6 years Sputnik Photographers have been investigating if the people living in post-soviet countries still need to be awed by something that does not formally exist any longer.“

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.

In her work “The City of Brides” Alena Zhandarova explores a well known legend in Russia: “The City of Brides”.