Grozny, the capital of war-torn Chechnya, is a melting pot for changing Сaucasus society that is trying to overcome a post-trauma shock of two recent wars and find its own way of life in between traditional Сhechen values, Muslim traditions, and globalization, to cope with rapidly changing role of women, increasing contrast between rich and poor and political games. Our project Grozny: Nine Cities is inspired by a Thornton Wilder book, Theophilus North, and centers on the idea of nine cities being hidden in one, which gives us a concept to explore specific aspects of the aftermath of two Chechen wars considering them as ”cities” hidden within Grozny.
We’ve been working on the project since October 2009. We had all been working photographers for several years before when we met during the online seminars run by Objective Reality Foundation for emerging photographers in Russia and after them we decided to make a project together, which also eventually led to the foundation of the first Russian photo collective, Verso and we made joint projects on social transitions our priority. We come from different backgrounds, Olga was a journalist before, Oksana has higher education in computer science and mathematics, and Maria used to manage development of web project but we all came to photography because of our passion for visual storytelling and we get our inspiration from the ability to tell story of one people to another and make a small, but an impact with it.
In most of the cases we go to Grozny together and if there are major events or we go to shoot something which we know will become an important part of the multimedia, we go together and share responsibilites to get better pictures, sounds and videos. We work on the intimate stories one by one. Also, being a team of three really helps in postproduction, as we accumulate all our previous experiences in different fields for one project.
She holds an MA from the University of the Arts in London. She was a Magnum Emergency Foundation grant recipient in 2013 and a winner of the PDN Photo Annual in 2012. Her work has been published worldwide in publications including El Pais, Financial Times, Helsingin Sanomat, NRC Handelsblad, Rear View Mirror, The Globe and Mail, The New York Times and The Observer. She has worked on a number of documentaries in various capacities, including the award-winning ‘Pussy Riot: a Punk Prayer’. She lives in Paris, France, and works primarily in the Caucasus, Balkans, and Middle East.
Maria is a Russian photographer and filmmaker. She tries to discover different ways of interacting with the viewers, and she sees a web documentary as a way to attract the maximum amount of people to a ‘slow journalism’ project. Her short documentary film, Nizhny Tagil Youth, explores notions of work and freedom in the lives of young people in one of Russia’s industrial centers, Nizhny Tagil, located on the border between Europe and Asia. It was selected for The Rencontres Internationales in Paris/Berlin/Madrid and screened in 2011-2012. It won an honorable mention from the International Photography Awards in 2012. Currently she is involved in the production of her first full length documentary film and a series of photo and video art projects. She lives in Saint-Petersburg and works in Russia and Ukraine.
Works as a photographer both on magazine photo-reportage and on her own personal projects, which have been shown in galleries and at festivals. Yushko was a 2013 BURN EPF grant winner (with her project ‘Balaklava: The Lost History’), a 2013 Palm Spring Photo Festival finalist and a 2010 Conscientious Portfolio Competition finalist (with her personal project ‘Kenozero Dreams’, which was also part of the 2012 3D Copenhagen Photo Festival and 9th International Photo Festival BackLight2011). Lives in Moscow and works in former Soviet countries.
Graduated from the psychology department of Moscow State University. Specialised in psychoanalysis and psychology of art. Wrote her dissertation on war and war photographers. Director of photography of various magazines in Moscow. Creator of the photography department of the British Higher School of Art and Design. Curator of numerous exhibitions in Russia and abroad, including exhibitions for the Moscow photobiennial. Represented Russia at the biennial Photoquai 2011 in France. Image adviser and consultant for many photographers in Russia and the CIS. Co-founder of the Foundation for Photojournalism Development in Russia. Photodirector of RIA Novosti agency. Lives and works in Moscow.
José Bautista is Multimedia Editor, Sound Designer and Visual Musician. Is also the founder of KanseiSounds and co-founder of Altamar films. It is specialized in the creation of multimedia projects for image artists, focusing the work on how the video, still and motion pictures fits the musical and sound development, creating an unique audiovisual language. He has developed projects for awarded photographers such Carl de Keyzer, Gueorgui Pinkhassov (Magnum), Pep Bonet, Yuri Kozyrev, Stanley Greene (NOOR), Todd Hido, Ricardo Cases and many others. Among other awards he has received the first prize at World Press Photo multimedia contest for "Into the Shadows", first prize at LENS Culture Multimedia Award for "Grozny: 9 cities", and first prize at VISA Pour L'image for "La Zone" webdocumentary.
Gerald is the founder of Chewbahat Storytelling Lab. He has been a photojournalist for more than 10 years for various world-famous photo agencies in France and the U.S. Since 2008, Gerald has focused on issues relating to web documentaries, transmedia narrative techniques and future of storytelling, searching for new techniques that will allow him to tell better stories. In 2010 he became deeply involved in the development of the Transmedia community in France and beyond. He is the co-founder of the French Chapter of Storycode Paris. He lives and works in Paris.
Racontr is a whole new platform based on the improved version of the Djehouti interactive storytelling software. Djehouti has been around for a few years and Racontr is simply the next step toward our vision for an interactive digital world.