Critique

10 Photographs from the Odessa//Batumi Photo Days Festival

The third annual Odessa//Batumi Photo Days Festival will be held in Odessa between April 19 and April 23. Photographer from Singapore Kevin Lee is this year’s curator of the main program of the event. He chose 10 photographs from the exhibited ones that he likes the most and explained why to Bird in Flight.

Kevin Lee

Singapore-based photographer. Born in Fiji, graduated from the College Of Fine Arts, University Of New South Wales, Australia. In 2010, founded a platform for photographers and artists from Asia, Invisible Photographer Asia (IPA). Curated and judged many festivals, among them Angkor Photo Festival (Cambodia), WMA Masters Award (Hong Kong), Belfast Photo Festival (Britain), Prix Pictet Award, PhotoQuai Biennale (France), Hong Kong Photobook Awards, Feature Shoot Emerging Photography Awards (US), Kuala Lumpur International Photoawards (Malaysia), and many more.

1

Andrey Lomakin

A most absurd picture that questions the relationship between gun violence, war, and civilian life. All the elements in the family picture are soft and gentle, in contrast to the cold black metal of the rifle. Mickey Mouse on TV, point to the omnipresent influence of external forces, and a nod to similar absurdities with American gun culture. A great example of what photography can depict and reveal.

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2

Daryna Deineko

Revelation through concealment – that we cannot see, we imagine with more liberty. The image also reminds us of the diminishing materiality of photographs in today’s digital world where the medium and its meaning are questioned, where everything is data, and the photograph as an object is becoming a historical artifact.

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3

Igor Chekachkov

The photograph is awkwardly framed, tight and obscured. Her face is obscured and her hand is cut, but the colors are intense. The powerless in most cases have nothing but faith to turn to. And faith is somewhat an intense, but a vague and blind concept. Families and relatives of the fallen are the faceless victims forgotten in war. Igor Chekachkov’s Face to Faith is a well-conceived series of images.

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4

Kirill Kovalenko

Kirill’s images are beautiful aesthetic depictions of urbanization and the built environment that photographers and artists in Singapore are obsessed with as well. I find familiarity in his images and the buildings, facades, and utility in them. We may live in distant places, but there is more closeness in the conditions we live in and our anxieties than we’d imagine, especially when society inevitably progresses.

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5

Oksana Kurchanova

Oksana Kurchanova explores a few things in her Scanomania series. She uses an alternative lensing approach to making photographs while exploiting the innate ability of photography to alter scale and reality. She also queries the aesthetic of painted and photographed images. While her methods and desires are not new, her images are beautiful abstract paintings.

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6

Sasha Maslov

Sasha Maslov’s Portraits of World War II Veterans show his commitment to traditional documentary photography and its ability to offer perspective on the future from past reflections, and to counter otherness. This portrait of Alexei Georgiev, an old Russian war veteran in Moscow, assumes a poignant external view of current tensions between Ukraine and Russia.

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7

Artem Tovstinchuk

I like the earnestness and vulnerability in this simple portrait by Artem. The image suggests to me that the photographer may be young and have modest desires to depict. The sea in the picture is a metaphor for many things. The young man is keeping his head afloat and he is aware that we are looking at his efforts. We should encourage more young swimmers.

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8

Vitaly Fomenko

I believe the critic Susan Sontag said when we indulge in a photograph of someone, we participate in their mortality, and we certainly do in these silent, melting portraits of fallen Ukrainian soldiers. Vitaly memorializes conflict and its victims, but memory is a fragile concept like mortality. Intriguing portrait series with a contemporary aesthetic.

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9

Vladislav Krasnoschok

In today’s contemporary photography landscape, where there is a shift away from traditional craft to conceptual approaches, Vladislav Krasnoshchok’s work is ironically a breath of fresh air. The visions he depicts are like the surrealistic dreams of a child. The fact that he is a practicing surgeon all the more adds to the narratives of life and death he depicts.

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10

Yura Kolomiets

Iconic Japanese photographer Shomei Tomatsu referred to a photographer as one who stakes everything on looking. I understand and sympathize with this need to look. Yura Kolomiets is one such person who looks, and I am simply interested in what and how he sees. My pleasure is not derived from understanding what he shows me, but having my disbelief suspended momentarily.

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You can sponsor Odessa//Batumi Photo Days Festival here.

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