Moscow (Sputnik Press-Office) — Three photo series by the prominent photographer and recipient of several international awards will be on display: Against the Holy Spirit, about the Dukhobor religious group resident in Georgia; and two series about the latest developments in Ukraine — Gotham City, about the curfew in Lugansk and Underground, about everyday life in war-scarred Donbass.
The FotoForum gallery exhibition will run from May 14 through June 11. Admission is free.
"I am glad to be able to show something new to the Austrian public and bring their attention to events the local media hardly covers. I always make it a point to push the limits of customary photo narratives and demonstrate the unnavigated aspects of things," Valery Melnikov said at the exhibition opening.
The Against the Holy Spirit series shows the contemporary life of Dukhobors, a religious group that does not recognize any official Church or secular government authorities. Their supreme authority is an internal voice. The community lives presently in the village of Gorelovka in Georgia. Its members speak an old refined form of the Russian language and wear ancient folk costumes passed down from generation to generation. No matter what problems they may face, they will never leave the land they regard as holy, the villagers say.
The Gotham City series also illustrates Ukrainian events. It shows Lugansk while under curfew. This is what Melnikov says about his photos: "When Lugansk falls asleep, Batman wakes up. Batman is the call sign of one of the most influential local warlords. He and his men control the city at night. Lugansk is under curfew from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. There are no cars and pedestrians on the streets. It is prohibited to appear outdoors at night. Steeped in darkness, the city is frozen with fear in agonized anticipation of the next day."
Sputnik photo reporter Valery Melnikov has won numerous prestigious photo awards. He has been either the winner of or shortlisted for many international contests, including Pictures of the Year International 2016, Sony WAP 2015, Days Japan International Photo Journalism Award 2015, China International Press Photo Contest 2013, 2014 and 2015, Vilnius Photo Circle 2015, Professional Photographer of the Year 2014, KOLGA TBILISI PHOTO 2015, and Silver Camera 2013.
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