Multimedia old country — Sasha Grom's exhibition shows nonglossy history of Russia

Multimedia old country — Sasha Grom's exhibition shows nonglossy history of Russia
Photo: Maksim Platonov

The exhibition of photographer Sasha Grom entitled Ton opened in the first pavilion of the multimedia Park 'Russia — My History' in Kazan. Kazan courtyards, Ivanovo workshops, miners' everyday life and endless fences — these images are perhaps even more suitable for the main exhibition than the chronicles of the tsars, the correspondent of Realnoe Vremya, who attended the opening of the exhibition, decided.

Beautiful non-glamour

The main exhibition in the multimedia park will return after November 8, but in the meantime, 133 screens are showing photos of Sasha Grom. The author is a well-known instablogger, graduate of the school of modern photography DokDokDok, member of the Union of Photographers of Russia, published in the publications Takie Dela, Dodho Magazine, The Calvert Journal. The exhibition also featured a film made in collaboration with Director Elina Kasimov “She was walking along and saw”.

This name is, in fact, one of the creative methods of Grom. Many people know her as a person who carefully studies a non-glossy Kazan — with wooden houses, low-rise stone buildings of the pre-war era, grandmothers playing lotto, prominent old men and laundry drying in the yard. Grom has a gift for persuading people to take photos on camera without embellishment. When you see these photos in the dim halls of the multimedia park, where there are also pedestals with tablets, information stands about False Dmitries are not removed, and almost lullaby music sounds from huge screens, their status changes.

Sasha herself is being in quarantine, so at the opening she greeted the guests, and there were several dozen of them, through Zoom — also on the big screen. So the broadcast becomes part of the exhibition.

Sasha herself is being in quarantine, so at the opening she greeted the guests, and there were several dozen of them, through Zoom

Instead of the author, visitors are led by local guides, who repeat several times that in these photos Kazan looks like it's the 1990s. “Yes, Kazan is not always beautiful.” Isn't it beautiful? “Okay, not glossy.” No context is given, there are no captions for the photo, so only from memory and hints can you understand that this is in the Kirovsky district, and this is on Maksimova Street. But time does seem frozen. I remember how a few years ago I took a Finnish photographer around the city, he took pictures of local characters in their favourite places. Almost all chose “Soviet” locations — Lokomotiv beach, Mergasov's house, Alafuzov's factory. As if in Kazan, where everything was changing, they wanted to fix some kind of dilapidated stability.

By the way, Sasha has recently released the audio guide “A Walk Around Non-glossy Kazan” for an hour. It starts from the Surin apartment houses (Maksima Gorkogo Street, 26a) and leads to the yards on Mushtari Street, along Marusovka and inconspicuous entrances.

Murmansk, Ivanovo, fences

A significant part of the exhibition consists of individual projects. The first one is a trip to the urban-type settlement of Nikel in Murmansk Oblast. It is included in the list of single-industry towns of the Russian Federation with a risk of deterioration of the socio-economic situation. Simply put, the plant that produces Feinstein — enriched copper-nickel ore will soon run out of resources. The population has been declining for the last 8 years. How the girl managed to take pictures not only in industrial premises, houses of culture, but also on the bus in which tired miners go from work is a mystery.

A significant part of the exhibition consists of individual projects. The first one is a trip to the urban-type settlement of Nikel in Murmansk Oblast

Another project — Tekstilny Kray — on the production spaces of the city of Ivanovo. Brooding women, laces and fabrics, deserted workshops. Finally, in “Fences”, there appears Sasha herself, who interacts with these fences or, on the contrary, gives up at the sight of their greatness. Guides report that in the process of developing the theme, Grom made her own fence and rode the bus with it. And the townspeople wanted to take the fence from her.

“This is my first exhibition of this format, which is incredibly exciting. As an author, it was interesting for me to work with the image and space. Since the exhibition is multimedia and all screens are of certain sizes, we had to adjust the images to the required format, something had to be changed or reformatted in the final," says Sasha Grom (we communicate in Telegram). “The team and I tried to bring some of the photos to life, and in the last room I added videos taken at production facilities in Ivanovo Oblast. When I was shooting the last series, I had a feeling that I needed to shoot a video, but there was no specific goal, and the moment came when the video came in handy. First of all, I would like to share with people the emotions that I feel during filming. And so that the viewer finds their “important” through the photo. This is going to be a lot for me.”

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By Radif Kashapov. Photo: Maksim Platonov
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