Arts & Culture: Far Away, So Close

Egor Rogalev’s Faraway, So Close is a photographic exploration of the big open spaces in his native Ukraine. As the name suggests, life in Egor’s world seems so far away that even when he does approach a human form, he seems strangely detached from his subject. Set against a gritty post-Soviet backdrop, it would be fair to say there is a real sense of alienation to the shots but Egor explains that for him, these vast wastelands are actually life-affirming.

“Alienation and loneliness are subjective not objective,” he explains. “It can be easy to be overwhelmed with open space visions of landscapes and cityscapes. They make us shiver and bring thoughts of how big and incomprehensible our own life is. These things usually make us feel small and alienated but there’s the opposite side of it – we can’t be alone in this vast universe because we are a part of it.”

Humanity in these photographs seems evasive. People’s faces are turned away or they are shot at great distance, framed by a landscape that over-powers them. Egor says that this was a way of facing his fears and inner demons by perceiving life as a whole, rather than as a fragment of one person’s perspective.

His next project The Remains, is set to be an exploration of how human consumption and greed is destroying the planet and there is also a sense of this environmental concern in Faraway. A snow-covered abandoned bus is an emotive signal of how out-of-place our rubbish is the natural environment.

“My main goal is to work on more concrete social and environmental related projects,” Egor explains. “Not in a traditional journalistic way but in a way that combines social documentary and art.”

Faraway, So Close is scheduled to show in Spring 2012 at Photodepartment Gallery in Saint Petersburg.

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