Once upon a time a sweet clueless kid came to New York and the good fairy Serendipity made his life even more dream like.Was there a happy ending ? The story is still being written between parties and canapes and glasses of Lillet and champagne. There are stops for tears and doubt, moments for friends and celebrations of life.
A few years ago one of my southern friends who has lived here for a while decided to have a picnic in the park. All the guest who sat down on the grass on a carpet that lazy summer eve were either from Alabama or Louisiana maybe one other state.We were sitting by a small lake there were fireflies and children's laughter, softly in the distance.The world was golden
A cousin or maybe a play cousin of our beloved hostess brought about 30 lbs of fantastic bbq-ribs , carried lovingly for us on a plane that very sameday. The conversation was what you would expect from smart and passionate people, there was no need to explain as we swap stories and told jokes of Home, we spoke the same language
Do you ever stop and say to yourself , life is to good,why do I deserve this ? I am happy, my life is usually cushioned yet that does not mean I do not understand others suffer. So on this near perfect summer evening surrounded by friends and the world being wonderful everyday or so I like to think it is, a perverse wave of empathy creep into my head.
I had to stop and remind everyone that a revolution could come any minuet,we could all become less than we are just by accident.let us be grateful and not forget.
So why all these rambling words?Southerns are storytellers we sometimes think that the tradition is ours alone. Not always true, but sometimes when I hear people say they tell stories with their pictures I wonder do they. Maybe they give us the images to complete make the story.
These thoughts came to mind when I saw a group of images submitted to the 2011 Hearst Biennial by a photographer from Moscow named Victor Yuliev. His body of work "Sleepers" told a complete story from the first image until the last each of the 16 jpegs was an intricate part of his story about tents that are set up in parks around St.Petersberg for the homeless to have a place to go at night.
In sixteen photographs from the hulking tent to the movement of someone entering and all the expressions of the people who shared the tent we are made conscience of humankind, the suspicion, the resignation ,the acknowledgement, the gathering of tribes to spend a night against a very harsh winter. One can almost feel the closeness,damp and smoky.can hear the sound faint mutterings,singing, out bursts whimpering. The state of emotions that the homeless can acquire after a time on the street like paranoia and delirium. But there is also maybe hope and belief ... tomorrow.
Victor has told a complete story in the best tradition of photojournalism.I look at these images and understand there is more than one golden light.This work touch me in some deep hidden chamber of my inner world.
Not only did the 10 judges of the Hearst 8x 10 chose Victor's group of pictures, he won The Best international entry award for War On Wants in Document Photography.
please read these images from bottom to top