среда, ноября 05, 2008

From the River to the Sea

часть личного проекта (весь, надеюсь закончить в этом году) "Река-Море", который истощил мои силы, высосал остатки денег из кармана и заставил скитаться "по-миру" с Севера на Юг, с Запада на Восток - на огромной территории "России-континента", землю которого было необходимо пересечь и достичь моря. Я много раз это сделал по Волге, Неве, Оби и Амуру...Нефига мы не морская страна, мы речники и лодочники - континентальный народ, мечтающий о море. Мы пересекли землю, достигли моря, но море нас и остановило. (Клик на картинку, звук, фото на Флэше)

Russia is the largest country in the world. It’s almost a continent.As a result, Russia was always focused on waterways: to cross the land and to reach the sea. Exactly because Russia is such a huge territory, the searching soul of Russia could be found along its rivers and coasts. In pre-modern times, they served as the main channels of communication. To trade commodities like fish, furs, grain or coal from sea to sea: from the Arctic North to the Subtropical South or the Asian East to the European West, through the rivers Volga, Neva and Oka.

Despite the introduction of new means of transport in modern times, like railways, river and sea still epitomized a Russian tradition of trade, colonization and pride.
For example. After the Second World War (WW II) the omnipotent leader Joseph Stalin, decided to transform the Far East into a fishing-centre that should feed the entire population of the Soviet-Union.

To achieve that aim, new villages and cities erected. And to defend these settlements, the armed forces along the eastern frontiers were strengthened, even with nuclear equipment. Finally, some hundreds of thousands of people worked and lived in the Far East by order of the state.

But everything changed after the collapse of the Soviet-Union in the late eighties. The consequences were far-reaching. The human beings along riverbanks and sea-shores became forgotten. The ecological environment met the same fate.
Although President Vladimir Putin tried to restore the central power of the government, the people along the rivers and seas didn’t get much rewards of that policy. The social-economical developments and ecological conditions remained poor. Especially in the Far East, where thousands of fishermen and their families, who have settled after WW II, are still trapped.

Nevertheless, most of them don’t want to reconcile to this situation, since they have spent their lives at the shores, which offered them freedom and romance. These people are exemplary illustrative for the fate of similar communities along remote rivers and coasts.

The story of these people on the waterfront has to be showed on a wide scope: from the East, West to the North and South. In 2007, therefore, the first set of pictures was taken along the rivers Volga, Neva, and Ob and on the peninsula Kamchatka as well as on the islands of Sakhalin and the Kurils. In the fall of 2008, pictures were taken on the shores of the White Sea, where the old ethnic group is still trying to get a living. In the same period a picture-story was prepared about comparable communities in the Russian Baltic, the Azov Sea and the Black Sea.

The result is a photo-project about all kinds of people, who were once proud but feel themselves now more and more downgraded.

Why? Because the narrative of these people deserves to be told. Their life in past and present is a story of ordinary subjects of a communist regime, who never became citizens in a civil society. Their narrative is a significant metaphor for the complexity of social and political transition.

Flash and one part of the project (pics and sounds)