Discuss a Justyna Mielnikiewicz photograph

Discussion in 'Discussing a ****** Photograph' started by David A. Goldfarb, Aug 20, 2006.

  1. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    I didn't know anything about this Polish photographer working out of the Republic of Georgia before, but I just saw this fantastic image in the NYT and thought I would look for more--

    [​IMG]

    Here's the article for context (and in case the link doesn't work)--

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/20/w...&en=818848e38922ac1a&ei=5094&partner=homepage

    And here is a slideshow connected to the article with her own narration--

    http://www.nytimes.com/packages/khtml/2006/08/19/weekinreview/20060820_ABKHAZIA_FEATURE.html

    And here's her website with a portfolio of B&W work--

    http://www.justmiel.com/
     
  2. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    Damn! It's an eastern block Martin Parr photo!
     
  3. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    ...or a color Mikhailov
     
  4. JohnArs

    JohnArs Subscriber

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    Martin Parr was also my thinking!
     
  5. catem

    catem Member

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  6. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    I think SOMEONE forgot to take their happy pill today!
     
  7. catem

    catem Member

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    Sparky, I'm following the suggestion that digging a little deeper furthers understanding. On the whole, a quite reasonable suggestion. Especially when that's done through looking at further work...She is not someone I would in general compare with Martin Parr, though I understand the connection in the first image. :wink:
     
  8. Gay Larson

    Gay Larson Member

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    I find her work interesting. I like the one where she has the horse on the beach and is dressed like a cossack. It's not what you would expect.
     
  9. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    I was thinking the image superficially resembled a few I'd seen of Parr's. I wasn't, even for a moment, trying to suggest any sort of borrowing from Parr. Even if they were - I really wouldn't have a problem with it - I think it's pefectly valid. But I'm not even thinkin' that. I'm just sayin'...
     
  10. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Doesn't float my boat.

    Pictures of fat tourists holidaying in the Mediterranean, Black Sea or where ever doesn't do much for me.


    Michael
     
  11. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    Parr did his as a sort of social critique - from that perspective his were kind of engaging. I don't really know enough about this photographer's work to really make any sort of serious comment - at least I feel that the sort of work begs some study.
     
  12. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    This image certainly borrows from imagery used by Parr, Boris Mikhailov, Weegee, and others, but I guess the question is whether she does something new with it. I think she does.

    Parr was looking at a certain kind of middle and working class leisure, and Mikhailov was layering that sort of imagery on the backdrop of environmental decay in the late Soviet Ukraine.

    Mielnikiewicz is also using the diagonal of High Stalinist graphics (whether deliberately or unconsciously--the ship is level with the horizon, so the camera is tilted), which once represented the heroic march into the future--

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    but now it's the rusting hulk of a ship that was once a floating bar, when Abkhazia was more of an elegant tourist destination in a Soviet sort of way. This is about Russians who still think of Abkhazia as a tourist spot in spite of the poverty and decay and the dissolution of the Soviet empire, and it's a good vignette of post-Soviet life.
     
  13. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    Interesting observation David. I did a class in film aesthetics about a thousand years - where they showed similar soviet propagandist posters and suggested that this diagonal motif was actually borrowed from another, earlier, soviet source - namely the cinematic stylings of Dziga Vertov and Sergei Eisenstein...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 23, 2008
  14. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    It was all part of the same phenomenon, happening in graphics, film, architecture, and photography.
     
  15. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    I'd buy that for a dollar.
     
  16. Struan Gray

    Struan Gray Member

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    Eight red rectangles.
     
  17. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    There's a great sadness here. Abandonment and a kind of hopelessness pervades every photo. People making a poor best of a bad lot. Powerful stuff. I have been educated and enlightened. I can't say that about the work of a lot of the photographers so far featured.

    Thanks David

    pentaxuser

    pentaxuser
     
  18. catem

    catem Member

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    I agree her work is powerful and empathetic and informative in a true photojournalistic sense, and is refreshing to see.
    Cate
     
  19. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Member

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    Some Rodchenko angles going here...thanks for posting
     
  20. pablovski

    pablovski Member

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    You do not understand the context of the image. These are tourists vacationing what was considered the Red Riviera but is now a destroyed capital of an unrecognized republic in a conflict zone. The image cleverly reveals the irony of the situation. I think calling it a "picture of fat tourists" does the photographer an injustice.
     
  21. Wyno

    Wyno Member

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    Michael, it's so good to see you back. I've missed your sermons.
    Mike