Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Umida Akhmedova

At the end of last year, Uzbek documentary photographer and filmmaker Umida Akhmedova had criminal charges filed against her, and was accused of defamation and of "insult and slander of the Uzbek nation."

She was one of several people who were charged due to having participated in a project sponsored by the Swiss Embassy Gender Program. Akhmedova's contribution was the photo book Women and men: from dawn till dusk from 2007 - 110 photographs documenting aspects of life in rural Uzbekistan. In court, an expert panel of 'specialists in the fields of religious affairs, spirituality, and psychology' found that her images portrayed Uzbekistan in a negative light to Western audiences: "a foreigner who has never been to Uzbekistan, but who is familiar with this album, would reach the conclusion that [Uzbekistan] is a country where people live in the Middle Ages".

On February 10th Akhmedova was found guilty of slandering and insulting the Uzbek people, but could walk away free, as the judge granted her an amnesty in honor of the 18th anniversary of Uzbek independence.

However, many fear that this case is "exemplary" - paving the way for many more cases like it against artists and journalists who are too critical or "unflattering".

Here are a few photos from Women and men: from dawn till dusk that are relevant to Chirayliq (click to enlarge!). See many more at and

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Comrades, 1950

Probably taken soon after the treaty of friendship between the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China on 14 February 1950, and just a few years before the Sino-Soviet split... An unusual image of youthful international friendship from the Borodulin collection of Soviet era photography. Other interesting images include a visit by workers from the Caucasus in Moscow 1925, muscular Komsomol youths, and this nice 20's photo of Eisenstein, Mayakovsky, Pasternak and other cultural personalities welcoming Japanese visitors.