“Visa pour l’image 2016”, Perpignan, France
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.
The swiss documentary photographer Niels Ackermann won the 2016 Visa award for his work “The White Angel“. In context of the 30 year commemoration of the Tchernobyl disaster, Niels went out to discover how the current generation is now living in the surroundings of the exploded Ukrainan nuclear plant. He visited Slavutych over a period of three years and observed young Yulia, from being a wild teenage girl to becoming a more settled and married woman. Niels displays her life with an unmatched proximity. Yulia and her friends show the full spectrum of life: joy and tears, drugs and energy, and yet an underlying sense of missing perspectives.
Anastasia Rudenko was invited to exhibit her work “Paradise“ which she started in 2012. Her goal was to portray the lives of the mentally disabled in Russia – not an easy task. In her home country, the discrimination of “unperfect“ humans is still very high, institutions try to stay away from the public. Anastasia had to pretend to be a local journalist to get into the instutions where mentally disabled live – of 50 attempts, only 8 institutions granted her access. „Sometimes I could just stay one hour, and then the whole visit was staged“, explains Anastasia. She further complains that the disabled are often treated as a collective, not as individuals – “they lack basic human rights“. Though she wants to raise awareness of the horrible circumstances the disabled have to endure, her photos also show the beauty of their emotions. We met Anastasia for a longer interview you can soon read on OSTLOOK!
Text: Sebastian Gluschak