In the art museums of Russia, women sit in the galleries and guard the collections. When you look at the paintings and sculptures, the presence of the women becomes an inherent part of viewing the artwork itself. I found the guards as intriguing to observe as the pieces they watch over. In conversation they told me how much they like being among Russia’s great art. A woman in Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery Museum said she often returns there on her day off to sit in front of a painting that reminds her of her childhood home. Another guard travels three hours each day to work, since at home she would just sit on her porch and complain about her illnesses, “as old women do.” She would rather be at the museum enjoying the people watching, surrounded by the history of her country.
1. Stroganov Palace, Russian State Museum
2.Matisse Still Life, Hermitage Museum
3.Konchalovsky’s Family Portrait, State Tretyakov Gallery
4. Veronese’s Adoration of the Shepherds, Hermitage Museum
5. Rublev and Daniil’s The Deesis Tier, State Tretyakov Gallery
6. Michelangelo’s Moses and the Dying Slave, Pushkin Museum
7.Malevich’s Self Portrait, Russian State Museum
8. Nesterov’s Blessed St Sergius of Radonezh, Russian State Museum
9. Petrov-Vodkin’s Bathing of a Red Horse, State Tretyakov Gallery
10. Kugach’s Before the Dance, State Tretyakov Gallery
Cottages of Quigley’s Point
Cottages of Quigley’s Point documents interventions in abandoned vernacular dwellings in my local area in County Donegal. In a landscape dominated by the legacy of therecent housing boom the remains of these older cottages are easily found, down country lanes and hidden in clumps of trees. They are known in the community by the names of the families that last lived in them, whether these families still live in the area or have moved away, and reflect that the historical aspects that linger in rural places remain a part of contemporary life.
It is common to read images of derelict cottages in a nostalgic light, celebrating the simplicity of an older way of life with a romantic attachment to hearth and home. This romanticising tendency precludes the encountering of such spaces as they actually are, as part of the landscape as it is now. The interventions are intended as a fresh approach to subject matter that would otherwise be considered an evocation of the past. The addition of bright colours and movement situate the subject in the present, briefly reanimating it in the encounter, and marks my exploration of this redundant yet accessible aspect of the locality.
My motive with this project is to disrupt rather than oppose traditional imagery of the Irish cottage, avoiding the dichotomy of the romanticised and the real. Rather, by interrupting the static interiors of these buildings I add an active and particular dimension to this element of the rural landscape, pursuing a personal means of negotiating past and present in my local community. (artist statement)
Albinos, like photographic material, are light sensitive. Light leaves an irreversible imprint on their body. By emphasizing this whiteness –by lack of pigment- the white beauty that makes them stand out, when captured in an image, almost makes them dissolve, consumed by the light. I try to present it as a fragile physical state, an unwanted mask, but at the same time as a powerful metaphor for the ‘other’. The ‘other’ consumed by its ‘mask’, defined by physical features determined by birth, not by choice, they have it in them to turn their fragility into a visual strength. They become a metaphor, a symbol for stereotypes; they magnify the erroneous idea of human weaknesses and physical fragility but also that of (un)earthly, breathtaking beauty.
In my work I try to discover and visualise how the fascination for the ‘other’ can mirror our own motives, become and interpretation of the maker’s view and a reflection of a voyeuristic society while revealing intriguing parts of human nature. I try to show how the subject in itself looks back at us.
Rich and Poor
1. USA. San Francisco, California. 1977. “My life is personal, but I will tell you one thing I’m too fat.”
2. USA. San Francisco. 1977. “Now I see a way out to a decent future. I’m tired of this shit, drugs and pimping and all that stuff. Maybe now I have the courage to do something - anything. I don’t know, we will see. Jim, Thanks. (P.S) I love you.”
3. USA. San Francisco. 1978. “To me life seems so messed up but little by little I am trying to over come that. Because it is hard being a woman and to accept me as I am.”
4. USA. San Francisco. 1977. “I love the picture. I am a homosexual. May be if I send one of the pictures you gave me, Jim, to my nephew he will understand how hard his uncle is struggling.”
5. USA. San Francisco. 1984. “It’s kind of stinky living in this hotel. I don’t have nothing only $10. I keep waiting for someone to come in my door and give me money but nobody ever will.”
6. USA. San Francisco, California. 1983. “My face shows the intensity of a pained woman. I’ve been mugged and beaten. I didn’t ask for this mess. This makes me look like a bum - I am not. I am fantastic Dorothy, a popular personality. The nicest person in the hotel.”
7. USA. San Francisco, California. 1979. “My name is Judy and I am 11 years old.
I like the picture. My mom looks like she angry. I don’t like the way I look because I look pregnat. My favorite thing is to play with boys.”
8. USA. San Francisco. 1983. “We look like ordinary people! We have a terrible life.”
On June 25, 2013, Sara Naomi Lewkowicz won the 2013 Ville de Perpignan Rémi Ochlik Award for her work documenting Domestic Violence, to be awarded later this year at Visa Pour l’Image in Perpignan.
Photographer Sara Naomi Lewkowicz has continued to document the story of Maggie and her life since November 2012, when she was the victim of a violent attack by her now ex-boyfriend Shane. In an assignment for TIME in March 2013, Lewkowicz visited Maggie and her family in Alaska to document their life as they continue to move on from the incident. Click here to jump to the newest images added to the story and here to see a new multimedia video produced by Lewkowicz for TIME.
1. At 31, Shane had spent much of his life incarcerated. His facial tattoos, along with his criminal record, made finding steady work extremely difficult, and work that paid a living wage nearly impossible. After his last stint in prison, Shane was determined to turn over a new leaf and create a better life for himself. That life, as he saw it, would have to include Maggie, a woman 11 years his junior who was his sister’s neighbor.
2. Maggie had two children, Memphis, age 2, and Kayden, age 4. Maggie had separated from their father several months prior to beginning her relationship with Shane.
3. Shane and Kayden had a strained relationship from the beginning, with Shane trying to exert a strong parental presence and Kayden resisting the authoritative efforts of a man he knew was not his father.
4. Rather than subsiding, Shane’s anger began to grow, and he screamed that Maggie had betrayed him, at one point accusing his friend (not pictured) of trying to pursue her sexually.
4. Shane and Maggie argued in their car. Maggie’s inability to devote as much attention to Shane as she devoted to her children became a constant source of strife between the two.
5. Rather than subsiding, Shane’s anger began to grow, and he screamed that Maggie had betrayed him, at one point accusing his friend (not pictured) of trying to pursue her sexually.
6. As the fight continued to rage, Shane told Maggie that she could choose between getting beaten in the kitchen, or going with him to the basement so they could talk privately.
7. Shane pled with Maggie not to let the police take him into custody, crying out, “Please, Maggie, I love you, don’t let them take me, tell them I didn’t do this!”
8. In the days following the attack, Maggie had time to reflect on what had occurred and decided to make an official statement to the police. She said she had resumed communications with her estranged husband and the father of her children, and was considering moving with her children to Alaska, where he is stationed with the Army.
9. Kayden’s relationship with his father was diametrically opposed to his relationship with Shane. The two acted like playmates, but Zane had very few problems getting Kayden to respect his role as a parental figure. “He just respects Zane,” Maggie said of Kayden. “He didn’t respect Shane. He never really liked him.”
10. The morning after their argument, Maggie and Zane embraced in bed. The two have a host of trust issues to work through, as well as their own traumas to move past. “We’ve been together since we were 14,” Maggie said. “It’s hard not to have baggage after six years.” Maggie is hopeful that she and Zane will be able to move past their problems, saying that somehow, they’ve always managed to find their way back to each other.