Friday, 30 January 2009

Sergey Maximishin, photojournalist

Let's just say this is "Professional photographer week". I've been browsing the LiveJournals of Russian photographers lately, and found plenty of exciting works.

Sergey Maximishin, born in 1964, grew up in Kerch in the Crimea. He served in the Soviet army as a photographer the Soviet Military Force Group on Cuba from 1985 to 1987.
After the army, he studied physics and worked in the laboratory of scientific and technical expertise in the Hermitage Museum. In 1998, he graduated from the St. Petersburg Faculty of photojournalism. For the next five years he was a staff photographer for the newspaper Izvestia, and since 2003 he has been working with the German agency Focus.

One of Maximishin's recent reportages is about Oymyakon in the Sakha (Yakut) republic, one of the coldest places in the world. "Here the petrol freezes, and the milk is stored in slabs in the basement", as the lead paragraph in Stern magazine says.

A cowboy rides one of his livestock. Maximishin's photos from Oymyakon were featured in German Stern magazine, Russian Русский Репортер and Polish Przekroj. He shares scans of the articles on his blog.

A fisherman on lake Sevan, Armenia.

Below are a couple of photographs from the Allaihovsk region in Sakha. Maximishin writes: "500 kilometers north of Murmansk. Yearly average temperature is -15 degrees centigrade. The surface of the region is slightly bigger than Bulgaria. The inhabitants number 3200 people. 33 square meters per person. Or 0,03 people per square kilometer."

A reindeer herder plays with his doggie.

Reindeer herding, hunting and fishing are some of the main occupations in the region.

See more of Maximishin's photos from the Allaihovsk region.

Many more wonderful photos can be found on Sergey Maximishin's website - (in English) - as well as his blog - (in Russian)!

Max Sher, photojournalist

Max Sher, born in 1975 in St. Petersburg, Russia, is a photojournalist based in St. Petersburg and represented by Anzenbeger Agency in Vienna. Publications that have featured his work include Ogoniok magazine, Afisha, Der Spiegel and The St.Petersburg Times.

He has photographed some of the most interesting regions in Russia and the former Soviet Union, among them the Ural river's winding path through the borderland between Europe and Asia in Russia and Kazakhstan.

Two photos from Astrakhan, one of the since ancient times most ethnically diverse regions of Russia:

A young man in the uniform of the commercial fleet on a ferry cruising between the villages Sizyi Bugor and Tumak on the river Bushma in the Ural delta.

Mamed and his son Shavkat, migrant workers from Uzbekistan, in the yard of their house in central Astrakhan.
See more of Max Sher's photos from Astrakhan.

Some photos from the Ural river region:

Kalybek, who is selling sheep at the livestock market in Atyrau, Kazakhstan.

A young man working at a stud farm, also in Atyrau, Kazakhstan.
See more of Max Sher's photos from the Ural river in the post titled "From Europe to Asia and back :)".

The texts are mostly in Russian, but even if you don't know the language, the photos speak for themselves. Well worth a visit are Max Sher's livejournal - - as well as his space on

Monday, 26 January 2009

Bolot Tentimyshov

Netania reports about the Kyrgyz film The Wedding Chest (also known as Сундук предков, L'Été d'Isabelle or Isabelle ou La rencontre inattendue).

According to Netania, the film "was so-so but features a very cute actor. It's about this Kyrgyz guy from an aul [= village] who lives in France and has a French girlfriend. He takes her to meet his extremely conservative parents, who are opposed to the match. It's a French-Kyrgyz co-production and it's got some silly French symbolic stuff in it, and there are some cultural inaccuracies and stereotypes with gutless-son-of-traditional-parents and oversexed French girls who smoke too much and wear revealing clothes, and the main character is a bit of a wanker, but he's VERY cute."

The main character, Aidar, is played by Bolot Tentimyshov:

Read a review of the film at!

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Photographer Alexandr Petrosian

Alexandr Petrosian is a photographer based in St. Petersburg. Over the years, he has made many amazing photos. Here is a small sample - click photos for larger view:

"On a Saturday evening"

"In Vyborg, 2006 - migrant traders return from their day of work at the market." From the set "Immigrants, migrant workers and their children".


From the set "Some photos from the province".

More photos by Alexandr Petrosian
... on LiveJournal:
... on Photopolygon:

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

In Paris

I just spent the weekend in Paris. On Sunday, there was a small anti-Zionist manifestation at Palace de Chaillot. On their flyers they advocated "a democratic and secular Palestine for EVERYONE" in place of the apartheid state of Israel.

Last weekend there were only this kind of small, decentralised actions for Gaza in France, but there is a huge national manifestation planned for January 24th.

Click the photos for larger view:

Gaza manifestation

Gaza manifestation

Gaza manifestation

Gaza manifestation

Gaza manifestation

Gaza manifestation

(Photos by Tinet)

Monday, 19 January 2009

Stanislav Markelov

I'm very saddened and angry at yet another news item, concerning a champion of human rights in Russia (news via diVERse).

Russian lawyer Stanislav Markelov (Станислав Маркелов) was shot in Moscow this afternoon. Moscow-born Markelov was only 34 years old. He was in the company of a journalist, possibly from Novaya Gazeta, who was seriously injured in the attack. He had been involved in many notable court cases, such as the attempted murder of the journalist Michail Beketov, and he was most famous for his work as a lawyer of the family of a Chechnyan woman who was raped and murdered by a Russian colonel. The ex-colonel has recently been released after serving 8,5 years of his 10-year sentence. Markelov had been voicing criticism against the early release, thereby angering nationalist groups. Very few Russian officers have been punished for violations of human rights in the Chechnyan conflict, and it's very difficult for victims to make their case against the entire machinery of the military system.

I have only the deepest respect and admiration for the brave men and women who go on fighting for equal justice in the face of ruthless force and blind patriotism. They are the true heroes of war. Articles by Stanislav Markelov and other legal activists can be found at the website of The Rule of Law Institute (Институт верховенства права) in Russian and English.

More in the news: Reuters - BBC - Novaya Gazeta

Friday, 16 January 2009

Israeli soldiers are such great propaganda material

Photo by Gallo/Getty images, via Al Jazeera.

Young Israeli men (and women) tend to be very photogenique. I suspect the Israeli propaganda machinery is well aware of this, since the media right now is flooded with photos of handsome Israeli soldiers ... (Of course, all of them taken while the soldiers are hanging out and posing next to their Merkavas outside the Gaza Strip, since Israeli officials do not allow journalists to enter and with their own eyes witness the carnage and destruction the formidable Israeli military machine is wreaking upon the people in Gaza, who have, what? Rudimentary home made rockets that have killed three people so far?)

The individual Israeli soldiers are of course very much pawns in a game, caught up in the demands of political ambitions and extremist groups, as well as a macho culture where army service is an integral part of your life.

Photo from Getty Images, via Daylife. An Israeli soldier watches an Air Force bombing attack against the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, on January 9th.

Photo by AFP/Getty Images, via Daylife. An Israeli soldier prepares a tank on January 14th, before rolling on towards the Gaza Strip.

Photo by Anja Niedringhaus/AP, via Daylife. An Israeli Army soldier recites morning prayers on January 13th.

Photo by Tara Todras-Whitehill/AP, via Daylife. An Israeli infantry soldier.

Photo by Sebastian Scheiner/AP, via Daylife. An Israeli soldier sleeps on top of a tank, January 11th.

Photo by Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images, via the Boston Globe. An Israeli soldier prays as troops take position on the Israeli-Gaza Strip border on December 30th.

Photo from Reuters, via Daylife. An Israeli soldier just outside the northern Gaza Strip, January 12th.

Photo by Alex Majoli/AP, via Daylife. An Israeli soldier at a deployment area on Israel's border with the Gaza Strip, on Thursday, Jan. 15th.

But it doesn't have to be like this! Here, girls from the Shministim, an organization of Israeli conscientious objectors, are working to convince cute soldiers that they would be even more of real men if they refused to carry arms:

You too can help! To find out more, visit the websites of the Shministim and New Profile, an Israeli feminist anti-militarism group which provides support to the Shministim and other conscientious objectors:

Photo by Tara Todras-Whitehill/AP, via Daylife. An Israeli soldier, injured in operations in the Gaza Strip, is wheeled into Soroka Hospital in the southern Israeli town of Beersheba, January 10th.
He is one of the 77 Israeli soldiers who have been wounded in the last 21 days. Maybe he, and many others of them, will one day wonder what his injuries were for.

Meanwhile, a Palestinian man cries in face of the death of his family, outside Gaza City's al-Shifa hospital on January 5th. Photo by AFP/Getty Images, via Daylife.

The inevitable comparison, since December 27th:
Israelis: 13 dead and 159 wounded (source)
Palestinians: more than 1,100 dead and 5,200 wounded (source)

It seems chillingly obvious that the Israeli government is using their "last chance" at living out their genocidal tendencies before US president-elect Obama's inauguration on Tuesday. Because, who knows, after that maybe games like this can't be played anymore?
I wish.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Men who once were, or would have been

In the last thirteen days, the Israeli army has killed more than 700 people in Gaza, 210 of them children. (Source: Democracy Now) The motivation for thir deaths is apparently to protect against and/or take revenge for the rudimentary qassam rockets fired from the Gaza strip into Israel. 10 Israelis have died in the same period, a couple of them civilians killed by qassam rockets and the rest soldiers.
In the three years between the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and the recent attack, 11 Israelis were killed by qassam rockets fired from Gaza. Meanwhile, the IDF killed 1,290 Palestinians in Gaza. (Source: Avi Shlaim)

Anyway, this is all statistics. But behind the numbers are individual fates. Here are two men from Gaza who were killed by the Israeli army - one of them once was a handsome young man, and the other would surely have grown up to be one if he had not been killed.

According to the caption at the Boston Globe, this is the body of a Palestinian security force officer, who lays in the rubble after an Israeli missile strike on a building in Gaza City, Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008. The Photo is by Fadi Adwan/AP.
It is unclear what his exact age was, but his hair is mostly black, so he was not very old, and from his wedding ring we can tell that he was married. Maybe he had children. While most of his face is hidden, what we can see hints at handsome features.

This teenage boy is 13 year old Na'el Zohair Abu-`Oun, who was killed March 1st, 2008 in the Eastern Jabalyah camp in the northern Gaza Strip. As he and six school mates were curiously watching clashes between Palestinian fighters and Israeli army forces, an Israeli reconnaissance plane fired a missile at them, and Na'el, along with two of his friends, was killed on the spot.
According to, Na'el liked to draw and to swim, and he wanted to be a lawyer like his father.