Thru 30 June 2012
One Hundred Years. The Russian Portrait may seem a meager socioligical research that meticulously captures faces of different ages according to a strict rule, one person per one year in the century. However, the name of the project already gives us a deeper understanding of the material, with 100 years being not only the age of the oldest of the sitters but also the hundred year period of Russian history, the whole past century pictured in faces. Life itself, year after year, each impersonated by a man or a woman, filled with dreams and hopes, forming the history of the people and the country.
The author tells us about these people in a simple and clear language, with the background and details in the picture emphasizing their position of profession. The objectivity seeked by the photographer is supplemented with photographic honesty: he shoots with a Leica, persuaded that «people should be photographed only with the equipment that had been tested by the time» and he does not edit the photographs.
According to his own words, Keen's rejection of retouching comes from his long-term experience in advertisement. This could be also the starting point of his sympathy to the work of Helmut Newton who Keen refers to in every interview. Newton was the one to import realistic features into the traditionally artificial genre of fashion photography. In his staged photographs elements of real life acquired grotesque, hyperbolic and often provocative meaning but still remained realistic.
Bolshaya Morskaya St, 35, St Petersburg, Russia. http://www.rosphoto.org
Tucked away off the street, the National Centre of Photography is an unexpected treat. Exhibiting works from international as well as local artists, the gallery aims to open the eyes of the traditional-art loving city to the importance of photography. The exhibition space is not huge but is well organised and explained. Don't forget to visit their amazing shop.