“When I became a parent, I had the idea to make a photographic book for children,” says Russian photographer Andrey Ivanov, who has won the Photobookfest Dummy Contest. “I started to photograph subjects and images of Russian fairy tales. At first it was a series of purely staged photos, but then I began to notice that some of the documentary photos I found fitted perfectly into this fabulous series.
“The fairy tale is the most authentic source of Russian archetypes. As the saying goes: ‘A fairy tale is a lie – yet there is a hint in it, a good lesson to good fellows’. The viewer follows the photographic tracks of the main hero of the fairy tale, referring to the cultural codes of the collective unconscious, and guesses or recognises the fairy-tale images, or hints of them.”
Ivanov shot the series from 2014-17 and his book dummy of the project, Go there I don’t know where, tаkе a picture of that I don’t know what, has now won the Photobookfest Dummy award. Organised by The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography in Moscow, and part of the wider Photobookfest held each year at the institution, the prize is open to photographers from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldavia, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.
Second prize went to Ekaterina Egorova for the dummy How well the trees have grown! a book about family life that combines family photos, documentary photography, children’s drawings and notes from a nature guide. Third prize went to the book dummy Russia Close-Up by Alexander Anufriev, who grew up in post-Soviet Russia and who aimed to document the country “to bring the image of Russia up to date and find out what defines Russia today”.
Ivanov wins a book deal with photobook specialist Treemedia, which is based in Moscow and which has published books by Russian photographers such as Igor Mukhin and Dmitry Markov as well as Russian-language versions of books such as Black Passport by Stanley Green and Liquid Earth by Rena Effendi.
Go there I don’t know where, tаkе a picture of that I don’t know what was picked out by an international jury, made up of: Katja Stuke and Oliver Sieber, the German photographers, designers, and publishers ; Nathalie Herschdorfer, the Swiss curator and director of the Museum of Fine Arts in Le Locle; Regina Maria Antzenberger, the Austrian founder and director of the Anzenberger Agency and Anzenberger Gallery; Sonia Berger, director of the Dalphine publisher and book store in Spain, and Blank Paper School collaborator; Arnis Balcus, the Latvian photographer, editor-in-chief of FK Magazine, and director of Riga Photomonth; and Daria Tuminas, the Russian/Dutch researcher and curator, who works with Unseen and the Unseen Dummy Award in Amsterdam.
The winning project was picked out of a shortlist of 25 book dummies, which also included: Baby by Vera Barkalova; Bona fide, Lebanon! by Anya Bocharova; Cult of V.V.P. by Alexander Chernavskiy; Occupation by Andrii Dostliev; On the Verge by Ksenia Ivanova; Flowers for Rita by Varya Kojevnikova; Touching the sky: chimney sweepers by Tatjana Lind; Y Minsk by Aleksey Naumchik: Khmar’ by Sergey Novikov and Yann Gross; Before and in Time by Margo Ovcharenko; Malinikha by Evgeniy Petrachkov; 1312 seconds & 206 Mississippi by Irina Purtova; Thin clear line by Nikita Ponomarev; Hope by Natalya Reznik; Space by Fyodor Savintsev; Summer Shore by Vitaly Severov; Simplex by Ksenia Sidorova; Mzensk by Anastasia Tsayder; Speed-up by Ksenia Tsykunova; The space of feebleness by Anton Vinogradov; We don’t think by Liza Zhakova; and I was my great grandfather by Alena Zhandarova.
The shortlist was put together by a Russian jury, which included the photographers Kirill Savchenko and Valeri Nistratov, photo editor Vlada Kuznetsova, curator Olga Averianova, and Treemedia head Leonid Gusev. All 25 shortlisted books have been on show at Photobookfest since 22 May; the exhibition closes on 24 June.