18 October: Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam / Sakharov Centre Moscow / lenta.ru

First Rob Hornstra was refused a visa for Russia, then Arnold van Bruggen was refused one, then the Moscow exhibition of the Sochi Project was cancelled.


On Friday 18 October at 5pm, two alternative openings of The Sochi Project’s cancelled Moscow exhibition will be organised simultaneously in the Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam (Pleinfoyer) and the Sakharov Centre / Fotodok Центр Документальной Фотографии (in collaboration with Lenta.Ru) in Moscow. A small part of the cancelled exhibition will be shown in Moscow. At the same time, an online version of the cancelled exhibition will go live on Russia’s largest news portal, Lenta.ru.

For more, see this.

If (unlike me) you’re somewhere between Yaroslavl and Kiev, or somewhere between Bretagne (regular or grand) and Copenhagen, then consider going along and seeing some photos. And if (unlike me) you’re into “social media”, then book the face of the exhibitions or twatter them or something.

Meanwhile, from darkest Tokyo, I raise a glass of Dutch beer to the success of the exhibitions. (Or rather, I’ll do so twelve hours from now.)


Russia puts the clock back

The Sochi Project’s website has been revamped (English; Dutch), so that it displays what must surely be the content of the upcoming book, An atlas of war and tourism in the Caucasus. (If the Sochi Project is entirely new to you, then for a quick introduction try this at HuffPo.)

Rob Hornstra (photographer) and Arnold van Bruggen (writer) have already produced a book about the north Caucasus that for me is the best photobook of the year so far. But Rob can’t return to Russia (even for an exhibition starting less than three weeks from now), because his visa application has been turned down. (Arnold’s application is still being processed.)

Read about it here at RIA or here at the Calvert Journal. But not about the reason for declining the application, because no reason has been supplied.

If I knew any Russian diplomat, I’d ask about this matter.

Meanwhile, I’m reminded of a much older book.

Edgar Mowrer, Germany puts the clock back

a tassel for Kassel

The Photobook Award 2013 contenders are selected by a jury comprising renowned photography experts from around the world. Some of the choices are good, but some of the others . . .  oh dear.

Photobook selection is more important than etiquette, so I gatecrashed:


Yes, Rob Hornstra and Arnold van Bruggen, The secret history of Khava Gaisanova and the north Caucasus. Or if you’re lucky enough to be able to read Dutch, then their De geheime geschiedenis van Khava Gaisanova en de Noord-Kaukasus instead, with a €5 rebate.

Buy it, read it. It has lots of Arnold’s excellent text. Yes, though some of my distinguished co-jurors choose books suitable for adorning bedside tables in department stores (and Machiguchi congratulates himself with a book designed by Machiguchi), this book requires actual reading. You know you can do it for book-books, you can do it for photobooks too.