[ EPF 2014 SHORTLIST ]
Whether anyone is watching or not, migration is a lingering leap into the void. Collision of social with personal, empathy with intellection, this experience is often not misunderstood, it is rather unrecognized – as languages we’ve vaguely heard at some point in our lives, or weather and distances expressed in unaccustomed units of measure that can be assimilated, yet only half-rhymed.
Defining a photographic project in a few concise words is as difficult of a task as editing the project and shaping it into something of meaning and consequence. It is nonetheless important at some point to give the project some form to help shape its further direction and needs.
Primary intent of this project, titled Cargo, is to explore the theme of migration, its social, psychological, and immemorial nature from the standpoint of personal experience of being an immigrant, which is often comprised of the eluded synthesis of immemorial and recollected, that goes beyond describing community of immigrants, or enumerating its picturesque or depressing features and analyzing for which reasons community or people that moved there from one place are comfortable. It is, instead, a visual portrait of a community of memory and image.
The project is constructed in the form of short, often fragmented stories mapping the experience and exploring its various themes: language and culture and their adaptation, interaction of history and fiction, generational relationships, poetics of space, desire to find some lost incarnation of what was once familiar, and more.
Cargo’s stories and characters are based in communities of immigrants from Russia and former Soviet Union, which represent the author’s background. The stories, however, are not limited or intended to represent only one single community experience. It seeks to paint a broader picture of the immigrant common experiences.
Born in St. Petersburg (Leningrad). Igor moved to California in the early 90s. He studied biology at the University of California Los Angeles, where he first started to take pictures and experiment in the darkroom.
Initial infatuation with picture taking led Igor to explore the silent and haunting experience of photographing the streets and shelter-hotels of Skid Row area in Los Angeles and brothels in Tijuana. The first series of images “No Such Records” savors the strange solitude of the enigmatic region between California and Mexico; amid the streets, bars, night shelter hotels, and disappearing night figures.
After 14 years, Igor returned to St. Petersburg in 2006, taking up photography full time, which led to a book project “Second Thoughts”.
At present, Igor is based in New York and working on a long term project exploring migration and gradual disappearance of neighborhoods based on Russian immigrant community in North America.
He joined Prospekt agency in 2011.