Monday, January 10, 2011

Augenblick , Profile : Simone Casetta

I have met Simone Casetta several times, last time in his "Cascina" outside Milan, I was nearby to take photos and I had the great pleasure to see big prints of the project "Fanno finta di non esserci" a poetic portrait of a difficult subject such as dead body preserved under formaldehyde for medical studies. I found the project also quite unique and strong. His web site indeed contain different other project as Simone is also involved in Social reportage.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Augenblick, Book : Pagan by Andrei Liankevich

Belarusian Photographer Andrei Liankevich has produced a book on Pagan Culture in his native country. It is an interesting look at some ancient ritual , a black and white view full of an interesting mysticism and poetry which I do advise to buy. The book is on sale at Anzenberger book gallery .
Here an extract from the text written by Svetlana Poleschuk :
Christmas, Strechannie, Summons of the spring, Palm Sunday, Easter and Funeral rites, St.George’s Day, Whitsunday, Midsummer, the Saviour, Zazhynki, Dazhynki, Dziady. Nowadays they are called folk holidays or rites and are even depicted in schoolbooks. In the units “Belarusian legends, myths, and stories” our ancestors are described to explain all nature and life phenomenon by the existence of living creatures – spirits. House, forest, and field had their spirits. Brownie mastered the house, wood-goblin mastered the forest, and mermaids mastered the river. Lightening is an enraged God, and stars are people’s soles. People worshipped stumps and stones, sun and thunder, animals and birds, plants and ponds; these were respected, afraid of and asked for help. Sometimes at schools and folk hobby groups the brightest rites are reconstructed to achieve better knowledge of traditions, just as the amateurs of medieval culture reconstruct knight tournaments. Examples of such rites installed are: Shrove-tide together with ceremonial burning of man of straw or Christmas walk of the dressed up mummers group singing Christmas songs and wishing people rich harvest asking presents for it. It’s also possible to take a great interest in Midsummer romanticism by once visiting the festival in the city park or by going to the country for a corporative party. Midsummer is the shortest night of the year when people search for the fern-flower, jump over the fire, sing and dance in a ring, twine wreaths, and foretell the fate. Perhaps these are all the options for the city inhabitant of Belarus of today to get acquainted with folk holidays. However in contrast to the knight culture, that remained in the past, folk or pagan traditions still exist in the villages. These traditions by some miracle survived seventy years of communist atheism that reorganized all the fields of people’s everyday life. Peasants continue bringing home birch twigs on Whitsunday, they do not send the herd to pasture before St. George’s Day, and do not eat apples before the Savior, or leave an unreaped sheaf in the field binding the ears in so called “beard”, they do not go to the forest and do not bathe during the “mermaid week”. One should at least once face with such peasant’s way of thinking, to which many unusual restrictions and rules are appeared to be important, to understand that the school material concerning our ancestry do not resemble folk tales any more.