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Russia and the New Normal

April 23, 2020

_EditinStudioThese pictures of me at home were made by Kevin Gutting for the Daily Hampshire Gazette and the Greenfield Recorder in September 2019. I was preparing for a show about the former Soviet Union with photographer Robert Tobey at the A.P.E. Gallery in Northampton, Massachusetts. Pictures were spread all over my house.

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That first week of this past September was the week before I began 7 weeks of daily radiation, and weekly chemotherapy, for oral cancer.

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My recovery from the treatments started the first of November. Basically, I began sheltering in place several months before the rest of the world.

All photographs by me, except when noted. The above picture is from St Petersburg, Russia. Below is from Baikalsk, Siberia, 2008.

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In January, the doctors declared me cancer free. Now, my challenge is to continue recovering from the treatment. I should be at my new normal with six more months of recuperation. I think the rest of the world may be at a new normal around then also.

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Above: Irkutsk Airport arrival hall, 2008.

May the world’s new “normal” be better than the old one.

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I think our planet has used this pandemic lock-down to recover a bit from all that humans have done to it.

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Above: Brest, Belarus, 2018

Below: The Japanese Butoh Master Kazuo Ohno at 90 years old, circa 1990. Traditionally, Butoh is a dark, almost tortured, dance form. In this moment Ohno smiled as he unfolded a flower from his robe.

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A flower for the world.

AFTER THE LAST EMPIRE II

September 16, 2019

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Truckstop Sleeping Area with reflections from window glass, Republic of Georgia, 2019 All pictures by Frank Ward.

“After the Last Empire” had its opening this past Friday and I want to thank all of you who helped make the event a big success. The above picture is of the first Truckstop Sleeping Area that I printed for the show. The previous post has one of a different room that I discovered after making this picture. That one was not included in the show.

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Stalin’s personal train car at the Stalin Museum in Gori, Georgia, 2019.

I really appreciate how much green paint is on view in the former Soviet Union. I’ve been exploiting the color green for years. Below are a few more variations:

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A selfie on the Black Sea off of the Georgia Coast. Batumi is in the background, 2019.

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Jordanian Tourists making pictures as we cruise around Batumi in the pouring rain, 2019.

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Uzbek family living in the mountains of Tajikistan, 2012.

These guys were wonderful. We stopped to ask if they had a toilet; they had an outhouse, and an orchard of apricots. They shared their outhouse, some drinks and bags of fruit. We had a lot of fun making pictures.

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Back on the road in Samtredia, Georgia, 2019.

I’m not a big fan of tree green, but I am a big fan of trees. I also like the three women represented in this picture: the driver in the lower left, the woman standing in the central background wearing dark pants, and the baby at the far right (maybe a girl).

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Green Moskovitch outside of the Odessa Jewish Museum, Ukraine, 2018.

 

AFTER THE LAST EMPIRE

September 5, 2019

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Train Station, Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, 2019, photo by Frank Ward

Robert Tobey and I have finished installing our show at the A.P.E. Gallery in Northampton, MA, USA.

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Truckstop Sleeping Area, Republic of Georgia, 2019, photo by Frank Ward

The above 2 pictures did not make the final cut. Although, if I was to install the show today, I would squeeze them in.

More pictures will come after our opening reception on Friday, Sept. 13th. See the previous post for more information.

Travels in the Countries of the old U.S.S.R.

August 29, 2019

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My recent pictures from the countries of Eastern Europe, plus a few older pictures from Central Asia, and the Russian Far East, will be exhibited for most of September at the A.P.E. Gallery in Northampton, Massachusetts.  Check the card above for more information, You are invited to the reception on Friday the thirteenth, 5-8.

I am sharing the gallery with photographer Robert Tobey. He is showing his wily studies of the denizens of Western Mass.

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I think our portfolios offer a stimulating contrast of two, or more, cultures living their daily lives in different locations, yet under similar circumstances. The two shows could be combined and called “At Home and Abroad” or “Here and There.” My pictures of people include those who have survived decades of an autocratic, self-serving oligarchy under the rule of the Soviet Union. Robert Tobey is observing the Americans who have lived through a rationally based democratic society until our system failed us with the current President.

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I made this picture of a Vladimir Putin carpet with a cartoon creature exiting the frame with a box of goodies. I suspect that I could find the equivalent depiction of Donald Trump’s activities if I searched online.

I do think Tobey’s and my photo exhibits have several comparative possibilities.Screen Shot 2019-08-29 at 11.54.40 AMPhoto by Robert Tobey.

Tobey makes his pictures from his bicycle in Holyoke and Greenfield, Massachusetts.

I made the below picture from a speeding car in the Republic of Georgia.

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Below is a display case in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. These two pictures are not in the show.

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I’ll post pictures from the show after the opening on Friday, Sept. 13th. I hope you get a chance to see the exhibit in person.

Egypt is the Mother of the World, Part II

March 10, 2019
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Daschur Pyramids, Egypt, 2019 Photos by Frank Ward

All Photos by Frank Ward

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Sharia Al-Muizz li-Din Allah, Cairo, 2018

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A Cafe in the village of Ferry, 2018

Playing Dominoes, Ferry Village, 2019

This table was newly painted when I first visited the all day, every day, dominoes game in 2018.

In 2019, I stood where a player was sitting to get this perpendicular view.

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El Fishawy, where the 1988 Nobel Prize winning author Naguib Mahfouz

would sit and write, Cairo, 2018

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Marinating fish in a Cairo bazaar, 2018

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A gift table in a Luxor bazaar, 2019

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A woman in Esna, 2019

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A morning walk in the Khan il-Khalili, Cairo, 2018

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Morning on the Nile, 2018

Take this opportunity to hear and see Ellen Feldman, John Sevigny and Frank Ward present their pictures in the Boston area.

Ellen Feldman’s work can be found here.

John Sevigny was kidnapped by a drug cartel in Mexico in January 2019. SDN is thankful that he made it out alive. See his work on SDN.

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Click link below for more information:

https://www.socialdocumentary.net/cms/doc-matters-3-13-19

Egypt is the Mother of the World

February 2, 2019
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Guard House, Sakara, Egypt, 2019

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Cafe Window, Village of Ferry. 2019

Vivian and I recently returned from a trip to Egypt. The results of our two consecutive January visits will be on display in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA beginning on Tuesday Feb. 4th. The photo show, Egypt is the Mother of the World, will have an opening reception at the Valley Photo Center on Sunday, Feb. 10th.

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Edfu, 2019

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Giza, 2019

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Bag of Silver, Khan il-Khalili, 2019

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Bucket of Jewelry, Khan il-Khalili, 2019

Those are Vivian’s hands trying on rings and things in the jewelry market.

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Antique/ Jewelry Shop, Aswan, 2018

We brought back pictures from 2018 for the owner of this shop in Aswan.

Egyptians really appreciate getting their pictures. We returned with photos for the farmers and workers loading sugar cane onto their Nile barge. I had photographed them almost the same week last January. The camel (below) was not a big fan of me getting so close.

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Loading Cane, Nile, 2019

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Gifts of Photos, Nile Village, 2019

You can see Vivian in the picture on the left. She had to put her straw hat on to show that it was her.

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Cafe, Ferry Village, 2019

These guys got a good laugh looking at their pictures from last year.

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Prayer Carpet and Mural in a Cafe in Cairo, 2018

We did not get a chance to find this wonderful outdoor cafe again. It is the only photo of this group that is exhibited in the upcoming VPC show.

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Pyramid, Sakara, 2019

If you want to see more Egyptography from 2018 and 2019, please try to visit:

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Scroll down past the Drunken Bicycle post to see 2 more Egypt posts from last year. Thanks for looking.

 

Return of the Drunken Bicycle

July 8, 2018

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Green Moskvich (almost as good as a Lada) in Odessa, Ukraine, All photos 2018, ©Frank Ward

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In June, I had my first visit to the former Soviet Union since 2015. It was a joy to return to the land of the Drunken Bicycle (pictured above in Kiev, Ukraine), and wonderful to revisit Ukraine where my Drunken Bicycle photo project began in 2001. The drunken bicycle is my name for a bicycle geared to turn the front wheel in the opposite direction from the direction the driver turns the handlebars. It is confusing by design. For a small fee bystanders are offered a big award to navigate the bicycle for a short distance. See more about the bicycle and my show on the bottom of this page.

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Back Alley, Kiev, Ukraine.

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On a Walking Street in Brest, Belarus.

Belarus is a country known for its adherence to Soviet era values and culture. Like Ukraine, it is changing fast. Above, the joy of young lovers is interrupted by a call on the smartphone, and the distraction by this uninvited photographer sticking his wide angle lens in their faces.

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Applying Lipstick, Odessa, Ukraine.

I was so happy to see this woman not talking on a smartphone. I seem unable to make a picture on the street without photographing a cellphone interaction. Look in the background of the bicycle picture and you see 2 people on their phones. The woman in pink on the left of the couple above is also operating a phone.

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Soviet Television from 1952, Odessa, Ukraine.

I shouldn’t complain about advancing technology as it allows us all to wander the streets with handheld cameras. I wish I photographed more people on the streets in the 1980s with their boom boxes. I was a wannabe teenager in the early 60s with a transistor radio bigger than an iPhone Plus in my ear, with a single earplug.

The above TV stimulated memories of my family’s first television with its 8 inch black and white screen isolated within a huge standing console. I won’t complain about smartphones, just my pictures of smartphones. I embrace the fact that I live in the age of communications technology. Bring on the EyeCamera.

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There are still a few days left to participate in the  SocialDocumentaty.net Call for Entries. The deadline is July 13th. I am on the SDN Advisory Board and will see if I can get that deadline extended a bit. If you don’t have a portfolio, but you have an interest, visit this link to join SDN at no charge.