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Culture news, 24.09.2007 14:52

Internet Photography in Focus

exhibition By Evgenia Ivanova

Staff Writer

At a time when virtual reality seems increasingly to replace real life, the 12th International St. Petersburg PhotoFair brings photographs from cyberspace back into real world, as the “Unknown Petersburg” exhibition, to be held for the first time on Oct. 4-7 in the Manezh Central Exhibition Hall, focuses on photographs that have been published in weblogs.

A jury has chosen 50 of the best works out of thousands sent for selection by LiveJournal (LJ) bloggers.

“LJ is still a very closed community. This is an opportunity for LJ’s photographers, many of whom are amateurs and have only displayed their work on the internet, to show them in the real world and to real photographers,” Kirill Kirillov, the PhotoFair’s head said in an interview with The St. Petersburg Times.

Unusual angles and views were the main criteria behind the jury’s decisions, jury member Alexei Vasiliyev told the St. Petersburg Times on Thursday.

“If for example, an image of a piece of architecture reflecting in a canal can make Muscovites scream with delight, we [in St. Petersburg] think it’s commonplace,” he said, adding that many of the bloggers who took part in the competition were not from St. Petersburg. “So we tried to include only truly unusual photographs,” Vasiliyev said.”

Kirillov described the exhibition as an “unexpected, untraditional view on Petersburg, without ceremonial gilt and tourist twirls.”

The display is painfully recognizable to city residents. It features sketches of St. Petersburg’s kolodets courtyards and staircases, quirky faces of passersby, and lots of disposal dumps. Many images are presented in black and white.

“I don’t know why, but around one third of all the photographs send for the consideration were of dumps,” Kirillov said, who called it an element of the so-called “St. Petersburg aesthetics.”

“You will be surprised, but in Russia a huge number of people in their 30s and older, even if they say they use the Internet won’t know a blog from an email — for them it’s all just internet,” Kirillov said.

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