EASTREET is an exhibition and publication dedicated to street photography from Eastern Europe.
Eastreet is one of the biggest initiatives promoting street photography from Eastern Europe. Almost 20.000 photos were submitted to all three editions by the authors from around the world. We’ve selected and presented over 200 photos by the authors from 22 countries, during the first two editions. The third edition will be opened on 10 July 2015 in Lublin, Poland and it will be accompanied by an education programme.
Just like each year – the best photos selected by a group of Curators will be presented in a form of a gallery exhibition, as well as an additional outdoor installation in the Lublin’s city centre. We will also publish a special book presenting all the selected photographs together with author’s biographies. The publication will be also distributed during the opening, as well as within a specially selected group of international institutions, galleries and curators.
Our intention is to present a group portrait of people in public spaces of Eastern European cities. The questions we pose are: What kind of changes do they experience and what kind of interactions do they participate in? How does an individual shape her/his environment, how does it influence our life, how do we interact with it? What is hidden under the surface of everyday life? The formula of street photography fits ideally to this subject matter, but we do not understand it in a narrow, conventional way: the exhibition may feature also broadly defined documentary photography (as long as they are individual photographs, not series). We try to explore the borders of the genre, look for new stylistics, new names, fresh ideas. Last, but not least – we want to promote the street photographers working in this part of the world and build a platform for exchange of ideas, dialog and inspiration.
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About Eastreet 2
Eastreet is the only project of such a scale dedicated to street photography from the states of (broadly defined) Eastern Europe. Its first edition was held in 2013 in Lublin and proved to be a successful experiment showing that Eastreet project holds promise and it is worth, or even necessary to continue. Here comes the sequel—new places and characters, new authors, and new Eastreet.
Eastreet 2 is like a return to a foreign place, which is already a little bit familiar, but still surprising and pushes us to meet new spaces, new people, and new ideas that are not necessarily very different from ours. While organizing the first edition of the exhibition, we were wondering whether street photography is geographically determined. Will the East, so typical and native to us, remain the same in street photography? Are we supposed to meet wood fences, dray-carts, an unexpected end of the hard surface, and similar stereotypes instead of glass and aluminium, financial districts, elegance, and ‘Westernness’? Now that we have prepared the second edition of the Eastreet exhibition, all we know is that there is something special about both street photography of the region and what is being photographed.
We are once again surprised by the response of the photography community to the open call. We are impressed by the number of the submitted photographs, their quality, multitude of colours and diversity. Eastreet 2 comprises 57 photos in the main exhibition and 50 additional photos presented as a slideshow, which makes more than a hundred images shot by 82 photographers from 18 countries. The guiding principles have remained the same: we present spontaneous, unique and unposed photos of people and spaces of Eastern Europe. We employ the language and methods of street photography with unusual arrangements and unique situations captured in a single frame. We use them to continue the narrative we began a year ago, which once again leaves us with more questions than answers—concerning the genre’s boundaries and evolution, the space that surrounds us, the way we read it, tell about it and about ourselves.
The photos presented at the second edition of the exhibition feature more discrepancies and absurdities than ever. These are those moments and spaces that clash with one another instead of melting into a harmonic whole. Most of the photos capture something out of the common run, something that stands out, disturbes and intrigues. A lopsided pole, a sliding glass in a bus window or a crack in wood paneling. The realm of fauna brings more surprises: zebras, elephants and crocodiles. The presented space is often missing something: there is lack of water in a fountain, lack of ground around a lamppost, lack of a more solid construction, and lack of a proper environment for a Rolls-Royce. These photos contain something that we, as Easteners, got used to, so much so that we usually let it slide. Something that once photographed, moves beyond stereotypes and is elevated to the status of a symbol that portrays our environment and ourselves. It gives a local colour to the region and can be exotic to an outsider, to whom a journey through Eastreet may sometimes appear a trip through the looking glass.
We also have Eastern stories about desires and dreams out there, about hopes both fulfilled and lost. A smashed gondola-like bumper in Tirana, three boys, each one with his star in Ulmu, Moldova or an enormous penguin somewhere in the Polish province—all of this amuses us, but at the same time it resonates with our experiences and wishes.
Shared experiences of this kind unite photographers featured at Eastreet 2, who work in the neighbouring countries of Eastern Europe. For all the differences in stylistics, techniques and methods of work, their photos have a clear common denominator. This is something special, unique, unimitated and fugitive, like street photography itself. Something that cannot be explained. That’s why it is better to show it. At Eastreet 2.
Joanna Kinowska, Tomasz Kulbowski
Lublin, June 2014
Eastreet 2 included over 100 photographs: 56 in the exhibition and additional 50 in the slideshow.
The list of authors selected for the Eastreet 2 exhibition: Denis Abramov, Alexander Anufriev, Piotr Baczewski, Julia Belashova, Oliwia Beszczyńska, Dimitri Bogachuk, Piotr Bułhak, Damian Chrobak, Yulya Dahl, Maciej Dakowicz, Antonis Damolis, Dorin Goian, Wojciech Grzędziński, Mateusz Grybczyński, Jamie Howard, Tomer Ifrah, Anastasia Kichigina, Dimitris Makrygiannakis, Bartosz Mateńko, Valeria Mezentseva, Jan Michalko, Maria Novoselova, Jakub Oniszczuk, Mikhail Palinchak, Haris Panagiotakopoulos, Andreas Paradise, Michał Patroń, Jacek Petryszak, Łukasz Pieńkowski, Egor Rogalev, Marta Rybicka, Ilya Shtutsa, Giorgos Sifakis, Kostyantyn Smolyaninov, Michał Solarski, Stavros Stamatiou, Jacek Szust, Karol Szymkowiak, Vasile Catalin Tomoiaga, Ksenia Tsykunova, Aleksey Tudakov, Andrey Tulnov, Lukas Vasilikos, Ekaterina Vasilyeva, Imrich Veber, Spiros Zervoudakis, Marta Zgierska.
The list of authors included in the Eastreet 2 slideshow: Michał Adamski, Semyon Aleschenko, Denis Ananiev, Aleksander Anufriev, Maciej Biedrzycki, Yulya Dahl, Tomasz Desperak, Ilia Dubrovskiy, Dirk Gebhardt, Łukasz Grzybowski, Igor Iefimov, Tomer Ifrah, Blerta Kambo, Ruben Karapetyan, Alexander Kazantsev, Anastasia Kichigina, Ania Kłosek, Savvas Kois, Kristina Koroleva, Dorota Kuchna, Marek Lapis, Marina Makovetskaya, Joanna Mrówka, Dmitry Muzalev, Aleksey Naumchik, Borys Nieśpielak, Haris Panagiotakopoulos, Kamil Pawlik, Paweł Piotrowski, Krzysztof Racoń, Vivian del Rio, Egor Rogalev, Robert Rutoed, Ilya Shtutsa, Stavros Stamatiou, Evgeniy Stepanets, Evgeniy Stiepanov, Marcin Sudak, Jacek Szust, Di Talkin, Olga Titova, Ksenia Tsykunowa, Yaroslaw Tymcyshyn, Adrian Wykrota, Jan Zappner, Artem Zhitenev.
About Eastreet 1
The Eastreet exhibition is the first initiative of this kind and scale dealing with street photography from the countries of Eastern Europe. Within less than two months of the open call we received in the whole more than 4.000 photos sent by photographers from around the world including Asia, Europe and both Americas. These photographs were made under different circumstances and in different time, using various approaches and all sorts of equipment, from mobile phones to medium format analog cameras. All of them are united by the same objective: to have a closer look at and to show an individual set in the context of Eastern Europe’s public spaces using that spontaneous, unique and non-posing approach for which we love street photography so much.
The quality of photographs we received was no less surprising than their quantity. As a result of two stages of the selection process, we chose about 300 really strong photos, which were later discussed online and within a series of editorial meetings of four curators including Joanna Kinowska, Aleksander Bochenek, Grzegorz Ostręga and Tomasz Kulbowski.
As we agreed at the very beginning, we wanted Eastreet to be an exhibition of photography and not the one of photographers. That is why during the whole selection process we were guided first of all by the quality of pictures and their narrative, and in a lesser degree by the names or achievements of particular artists. This is how the final group of 82 photographs comprising Eastreet has been selected.
The basic and evident goal of Eastreet is to collect and present a cross-section of street photography created in the countries of Eastern Europe. New-York spots of light, suits seen in the City of London, Paris side streets and Asian urban jungles – all seem so familiar to us, but we still do not know quite well what is going on in the streets of our neighbours in Eastern Europe. In this sense, Eastreet is a natural consequence of interest in photography and discovering the world through it.
Eastreet is our proposal to look at the proverbial streets of Eastern Europe. We peep into the well-known public spaces of the region. We watch ourselves and our neighbours, familiar places and areas that are stuck in our memories. Street photography is a special kind of reportage and document. It shows us passing moments, unique situations, a series of associations and references within one frame. It discovers something we are passing by each day paying no attention to it. A street photographer always finds in these familiar spaces something inspiring, something new and surprising. They say the most difficult is to take pictures at home and in the nearest environment, while the easiest thing is to do it on excursion to a tourist destination. Eastreet definitely refutes this prejudice. It turns out that these well-known places, our neighbourhoods, are often no less exotic than overseas countries. Our everyday reality located far from spectacular events and phenomena fostered by the media, can be inspiring just as well.
Street photography has been gaining extreme popularity for a dozen years or so. Internet forums and galleries, exhibitions, publications, contests and workshops attract crowds of viewers. Eastreet may happen to become the beginning of a platform used for sharing ideas and images, mutual inspiration and integration of street photographers operating in Eastern Europe. A platform that would open a discussion and make it possible to follow the development of the genre, an event that would go on, evolve and became a recurrent one.
We can finally ask ourselves whether the Eastern European street photography is any different from the Western one. Where will we find more of surreal events? Is it the case that—just like in any other photography genre—the East looks at the West in search of trends and inspirations? Or have the viewers and photographers been already fed up with Manhattan and the City? Maybe the time has come for less photographed places?
What are we searching for in photographs from the East? All those who live there, are sure to be waiting for an acute and fresh eye in order to learn something new about the region. The complete outsiders are struggling with stereotypes and inevitable Iron Curtain-based associations. In the meanwhile, the Eastreet exhibition combines the two expectations: we watch unreal, almost ‘staged’ situations in a space where the brotherly friendship between democratic peoples has left its everlasting imprint. We learn about how our neighbours cope with the legacy of the preceding political system, how they treat their environment, how they are getting on and the way they dress. The exhibition features the works which allow us to peep into the resort destinations of the East and the South: starting from Mariupol and Koktebel (Ukraine) and finishing with Durrës (Albania). How different are the downtown streets of Moscow (Russia), Warsaw (Poland), Gori (Georgia) and Baku (Azerbaijan). We are sure enough to participate in feasts and rituals, such as the ones in the village of Nowice in Southern Poland, in Tirana’s suburbs in Albania and in Tbilisi, Georgia. Sometimes the colours and arrangements of houses and street nameplates, booths and advertisements from the streets and suburbs, turn to be the main characters of photographs. A political thread is present here, too: the Red Square in Moscow, Poland’s eagle clearly from the previous era, as well as the curtain and window-sill in Boskovice (Czech Republic), so much reminding of the old times.
Eastreet features a few special photographs, which may serve as road signs at the exhibition. One of them is a picture shot by the Italian photographer Federico Caponi. Here is a tiger—a soft and plushy one, graphic and artificial, awfully typical to that part of the world. Not the scented leather of the Western world of advertisements, but a predator substitute, impudent and imitated. Artem Zhitenev made his self-portrait in an almost cinematographic scenery of a glamorous street of Moscow. We can see the modern buildings, glass and aluminium in a uniquely home-grown style, a fragment of the Communist architecture piece and, on top of that, towers of a church. The whole picture is lit with orange light just before twilight—an ideal synthesis. Maciej Jeziorek winked at street photography lovers. His picnic behind a supermarket store echoes Henri Cartier Bresson’s “Sunday on the banks of the River Marne”. What a change occurred between the year of 1938 and 2012, between France and Poland, between the two eras and half a continent, the greatest change being that of our pass time, work and dress.
Eastreet, first of all, should be a celebration of street photography, its potential and its importance as art, document and everyday creative activity. Our goal is not to show a definitive picture or to give the final answer about the condition of street photography in Eastern Europe. Just the opposite: we hope that Eastreet will leave us with more questions than answers. We expect it to take us by surprise, to arrange unexpected scenarios, to combine seemingly evident and familiar elements into completely new configurations and intriguing associations.
Just like street photography should.
Joanna Kinowska, Tomasz Kulbowski
Lublin, September 2013
List of photographers included in the first Eastreet exhibition: Adrian Wykrota, Andreas Paradise, Andrei Rublevik, Ania Kłosek, Anton Tushin, Artem Tovstinchuk, Artem Zhitenev, Damian Chrobak, Dima Talkin, Dimitri Bogachuk, Dimitri Mellos, Dimitri Muzalev, Dmitry Stepanenko, Dorin Goian, Federico Caponi, Gennadii Chernega, Gilles Roudierre, Giorgos Dioganis, Gregory Michenaud, Hannes Der Von Fecht, Ilia Krasnoshchok, Ilya Shtutsa, Ireneusz Pieczonka, Jacek Szust, Jamie Howard, Jan Michalko, Jan Zappner, Jegor Zaika, Justyna Mielnikiewicz, Konstancja Nowina-Konopka, Kostyantyn Smolyaninov, Krzysztof Racoń, Ksenia Tsykunowa, Lukas Vasilikos, Łukasz Pieńkowski, Maciej Biedrzycki, Maciej Dakowicz, Maciej Jeziorek, Maksim Gorbatsky, Maria Plotnikowa, Marta Rybicka, Mateusz Grybczyński, Mateusz Pałka, Michał Adamski, Mikhail Palinchak, Paweł Piotrowski, Paweł Repetowski, Sintija Zivarte, Temo Bardzimashvili, Tomasz Desperak, Tomer Ifrah, Veronika Lukasova, Viacheslav Poliakov, Vivian Del Rio, Yevgeny Nakonechnyy.