Erarta, Yuri Abramochkin, Salgado

My introduction to Russian documentary and to wonderful Saint Petersburg is very much due to Viktor Skubey and Ludmila Nazaruk. The latter (and her artist husband Ilya) has taken me year after year to Erarta, museum for contemporary art, brilliant collection, excellent exhibitions, super well conveyed, English and Russian texts all over.

This time three exhibitions caught our eyes: 1) Belarussian contemporary artists, strong in expression, about freedom and its absence, personal styles, extraordinary and sometimes scary interpretations of our lives. 2) Salgado’s Genesis was there, had seen it before, this photographer is a genius in framing and in his pointing to us, that we should take care of our world. His pinguins, his tortoise, his portrait of a Nenet, unique! 3) And the Yuri Abramochkin, born 1936, press photographer with access to Kreml and surroundings, portraits of Gagarin, of the central committee members waiting for Brezhnev, all with hats, of Kruschev with the shadow of Brezhnev catching up on him. But also documentary photos of people, regular citizens of the USSR… and a text from him, in many ways a true, respectful documentarian, read this:

”Press photographers differ from those working in the field of experimental photography, applied photography etc. in that the former shoot real people, their life… They walk through their lives with a camera. My credo is to gaze into the environment, to look around instead of peeking (there is something tactless about it) and catch unique moments in life, you sometimes see things that would never devise or invent yourself”.

Photo: Ludmila Nazaruk

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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