Days of Night – Nights of Day

Verve Photo, a web site created by photographer and photo editor Geoffrey Hiller “to feature photographs and interviews by the finest contemporary image makers today” – what he calls “The New Breed of Documentary Photographers” often features photographers of interest, though I can’t always see anything very new about some of them. Though that isn’t necessarily to the bad, although in artier circles it’s been fashionable to talk about the death of traditional documentary for at least thirty years, many of those of us actually at the coalface feel there is plenty of life in the old dog yet.

The latest photographer to appear on Verve as I write is Elena Chernyshova, born in the USSR in 1981 and a self-taught photographer who in 2011 received a grant from the Lagardère Foundation (best known for its Hachette Livre the foundation awards grants to young professionals in various media) that enabled her to work in the Siberian city of Norilsk, 400 kilometres north of the Arctic circle, “the 7th most polluted city in the world.  The average temperature is -10C, reaching lows of -55C in winter, when for two months the city is plunged into polar night.” It’s hard to understand why people would want to live there, but in Soviet times they had no choice, being sent there as “prisoners of the Gulag.”  You can see more of the resulting images in ‘Days of Night – Nights of Day’ on her web site.

It’s a series of beautiful photographs of what seems an impossible life, and for me that opposition is an interesting, sometimes exciting one, though the images left me wanting to know more about the stories behind them.

For just a slightly less inhospitable environment, you might want to look at her series ‘In the Land of Scotts‘ (there are a few places on the site where this talented photographer’s English (or Scots) spelling perhaps needs a little help), though though seriously all of her work in the Documentary, Assignments and Series sections of her site os worth exploring. Clicking on ‘Corporate‘ returns the message ‘Not Found – Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn’t here‘ which amused me too, though perhaps not by intention.

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