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EPF 2011 Finalist
Ivan and the Moon
Ivan is the elder, he is 16. Andrey, nicknamed Moon, is the younger, 14 by now. The two brothers live in a distant village in the northern part of Russia. They are not like regular teenagers, and live in a fairy tale world, yet deeply connected to nature: they go hunting and fishing, can use a joiner’s chisel, play with ghosts at abandoned places, do not want to move to a city, and love nature. Mature and childish. Naive and enigmatic. In this ongoing project I want to show the mysteriousness of the world of these brothers.
The narrative in ‘Ivan and the Moon’ is neither chronological nor event related. It does not have a strict and one-way-to-read plot. All the images are connected to each other on the level of correlated motives and on the level of hypothetical story interpretations. Each picture is supposed to provoke some inquiry about ‘What is going on?’
Moreover, the two brothers are reflections of each other. Many people might even think that they are twins. The main corpus of works contains their individual portraits, so that it is no longer clear who is who. It was also important to show that the world around the boys is itself magical and their games and fantasies are consequences of being a part of this world.
My aim is to follow the brothers through their life (I met them at a folklore expedition) and ‘document’ things that are impossible to document: the world of a boy’s fantasies, ghosts, gods, spirits of specific places, magic itself. Such things usually can not be literally depicted. As J. Szarkowski stated in his famous work ‘Mirrors and Windows’: ‘most issues of importance cannot be photographed’. My goal is to try to photograph the ‘unphotographable’ side of the matter and challenge some formal criteria of ‘classical’ documentary.
Works from this series were published in several magazines (GUP, DigitalPhoto etc.); awarded with the first prize documentary at the Viewbook Photostory Competition, exhibited at several Amsterdam and St-Petersburg’s galleries, at Lodz Fotofestival etc.
I was born in 1984 in St.-Petersburg, Russia. I have always been interested in approaching photography in several ways. First of all, I am doing academic researches. I wrote an MA thesis about amateur photography at St.-Petersburg State University and for now I am a student at Leiden University’s MA program ‘Film and Photographic Studies’. I am also practicing writing critical essays on photography; and used to be the coordinator and curator of an International Summer School in Photography focused on the new language of documentary and journalistic photography. Currently, I am an intern at Foam magazine (Amsterdam), working in the editorial team. Finally, I also take pictures. ‘Ivan and the Moon’ is my first project.