Wednesday, 16 September 2009

News from Slavs & Tatars

Slavs & Tatars is a concept art collective who have been previously featured on Chirayliq on February 21st this year - goodness, how time flies. Now note this in your calendars if you are somewhere in the Brussels area in early October:
Hymns of No Resistance is a performance of cult and classic pop songs adapted to address issues of territorial dispute, language, and geopolitics within greater Eurasia. Chanteuse/actress Berivan Kaya, accompanied by a Kurdish quartet, will perform such songs as She’s Armenian (formerly Michael Shambello’s She’s a Maniac), Stuck in Ossetia with You (adapted from Stealers Wheel’s Stuck in the Middle With You), and Young Kurds (an updated Rod Stewart’s Young Turks), and more. Hymns of No Resistance will open at Brussels’ renowned Kaai Theatre on October 3rd before moving to Moscow and then New York in 2010.

I cannot resist to include another quote from the Kaai Theatre's press release, just because it fits so well with the Chirayliq mission:
Slavs and Tatars wants to cherish the romantic heritage shared by Slavs, Caucasians and Central Asians. According to them, this heritage is not merely social, political, linguistic or aesthetic. There is above all a strong emotional bond. They seek out this bond, and polemics too, with unceasing dedication.

We heartily agree.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Real Men!

A Mongolian horseman, photographed by Oksana Kalyuzhnaya (source: in the Khövsgöl province.

Another horseman, a herder photographed by "Gorynych - The Green Serpent" at

Friday, 11 September 2009

"The Arctic is my home"

Viktor Zagumennov, right, has been photographing the North for 30 years. He has received the World Press Photo award twice, and his work has been featured in exhibitions all over the world.

(All photos in this article can be clicked for larger view.)

Left: By the roadside - two men in a remote part of Russia, year unknown. "The face of Russia" ... "Simple, good faces!" ... "Workers! The ones who keep the world going!"... That's some of the comments the photo has received from other members.

In his photos, Zagumennov has first and foremost devoted himself to documenting the everyday lives of rugged northern men and women.

Zagumennov himself grew up by the North Sea, and he says this has given him a special relationship to the modest northern nature, the darkness of the long nights of winter and the never setting sun of summer.
His passion for photography was sparked in 1st grade, when his parents bought a cheap Smena camera. He eventually went on to study photojournalism at Moscow State University.

He was assigned his first professional photoreportage in June 1977, for the newspaper Trud. The theme was "The mighty Soviet North", documenting the achievements of industrialization on the route Surgut - Nadym - Salekhard - Yamal Peninsula.
When Zagumennov set out on the trip, he was full of expectations coloured by the romantic landscapes of his childhood - "white nights, northern lights, fishermen at lakes like mother of pearl", as he describes it in his bio. "And suddenly it all changed. I saw the disfigured nature perishing under the barbaric onslaught of civilization; stern, unsociable people meeting each plane from the Big World, watchful - what will they bring this time, the 'aliens'. I realized the great hypocrisy of what was going on - [in our reportage] we were about to glorify murder, sing the hymn of the Molokh of oil, which was exterminating entire civilizations of northern people without mercy."
He says he accomplished little of any worth during this trip, except one photo: Reindeer herders of the North.

The photo was made at holiday festivities on the Day of Youth. The men are inhabitants of the village Aksarka in the tundra of Baydaratskaya Bay. They are Komi, Nenets, Khanty and Selkup. This photo (which was given the World Press Award in 1980) inspired Zagumennov to devote himself almost exclusively to photographing the people of the North.

These two photos are from a series on walrus hunters, Sireniki Eskimos on the Chukchi Peninsula in the village Sireniki in the mid-1980's.

Right: During class, unknown location, somewhere in the North, featuring a teenage boy with incredible eyes.

Several collections of photos by Viktor Zagumennov can be viewed on Photopoligon.
Don't miss the photostory from August 1981 about Gavrila Nikiforov, a Koryak man living by himself with his dogs by a river in Kamchatka, 20 kilometers from the nearest village. He hunted nerpa seal, fished and collected berries and herbs. The only things he needed which nature could not give him were bread and sugar, and these were provided to him by hunters, fishermen and the fishing inspector whenever they passed by. Zagumennov mentions that a flock of wild geese were hanging out at Nikiforov's house. They lived there every summer and had learned not to be afraid of him, but would fly away if strangers approached.

Here are some other galleries with Zagumennov's photos:
Zagumennov's official site -
More photos at

Of dogs, men and Russian photographers

These phots are from the photo community, a true treasure chest of Russian photography, both professional and amateur.
Click the images for larger view.

Love that sweeps you off your feet by Vadim Shapovalov, somewhere in Central Asia. A herder is the object of his dog's desire ... Shapovalov says that he half-heartedly fought off the dog's advances. It looks like he is smiling.
Otherwise Vadim Shapovalov mostly photographs beautiful young women. See more of his photos here.

Pictures in the sand, by Daysse. Daysse (Dasha Savina) also doesn't say which location this is, but since she is based in Vladivostok, it's quite likely that it's on a beach near that city in the Far East of Russia.
She makes mostly portraits, and there is another very nice photo of this gentleman (but without the doggie).

District police officer in the taiga, by nordart (Viktor Zagumennov), near the village Baikit, Evenkia, 1998.
Viktor Zagumennov is a world famous photojournalist, who has been active in the field for 30 years now. Learn more about him in the next post ... Here is a more extensive gallery of his work.