vrijdag 21 juni 2019

Be happy ! Martin Parr Gerry Badger The Photobook volume 3 Igor Samolet Photography

Igor Samolet - Be happy !
Peperoni Books, Berlin. 2013. First trade edition, first printing.
Martin Parr, Gerry Badger, The Photobook, volume 3, page 95.
Strongly limited to 200 copies.
Softcover with slipcase. 235 x 170 mm. 104 pages. Colour photos. Text in english.

 be happy!

2011 – 2014

I shot my project in a small city on the North of Russia with a population of about one hundred thousand citizens. I was connected to the city by studying there at the university, so it was obvious for me to look for the characters there. At some point a group of youngsters from the street picked my interest. I came closer and got acquainted with them. To my proposition to shoot them in the project they said yes. The shooting took three years. The guys’ youth, openness, and eagerness with which they had lived every single day attracted me. I thought they could endlessly run, jump, drink, and have sex. For their age of 18 to 25 it was normal. But the more I worked, the more it became clear to me that the wish to fence themselves off the incompleteness of their lives is covered behind their outer vibes. Yes, those kids had parents, they went to school and then to university, they even graduated. But their families could not provide them with a minimum to build a happy future, that is why the guys did not want to think about it. Instead, they decided to live there and then, and not to think about the consequences. They didn’t fight the conditions; they tried to ignore them under the affect of alcohol and permanent celebration. I did not want to turn this project into a social drama. I tried to focus on the feelings that are so important in youngsters’ age – love and friendship. They become the main reason for all actions and mistakes of my characters. The wish to be happy is always in their minds. Night and day they search and experiment with their relationship. Here you can see affection between two guys, which is highly strict in Russia, and it makes their relation even more tragic. That is where “be happy!” title comes from. It is my wish to the characters to find their own happiness, and it is not ironic at all. There is no clear ending to this story, as nothing was changing in their lives. The guys had always dreamt of going to a south sea, so I thought it would be great to finish the project with a similar shot. Sadly, every time I wanted to go, it was not possible. I understood that the force of circumstances and their social environment is much powerful than they are. So I decided to finish the story with a shot where I am lying myself in a puddle. If you prefer, it is my narration. In such a way the sea was shrunk to the size of the puddle, and all I was left to do was to lie and look in the sky and hope that the guys’ future was bright.


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