New Russian photography on FotoDepartament’s Attention Hub

“The way the international audience perceives Russian photography is often based on ‘exoticism’, that builds a pernicious stereotyping around Russian art,” say the makers of Attention Hub. “We show the artists who speak an intercultural and international language, pushing imaginary boundaries.”

Put together by FotoDepartament, the respected St Petersburg gallery, publisher, and arts centre, Attention Hub’s premise is simple – to harness the international reach of the internet to promote a hand-picked selection of emerging Russian photographers. Prints of the photographers’ work can be bought online for as little as €220, with half the price going to the photographer; the rest of the money will go towards building a programme of international events and initiatives to promote their work.

“Online is a dynamic and accessible format, providing the maximum audience coverage from anywhere in the world,” runs the site’s introductory text. “The combination of technology, digitalisation of information consumption, and trends of selling art online all build new ways of overcoming physical boundaries and setting up the convenient and focused support that independent art needs.”

From Proposals, 2016 © Andrey Bogush

Picked out by curator Nadya Sheremetova, nearly 50 photographers have been included in Attention Hub’s initial, including image-makers such as Igor Samolet, Irina Yulieva, and Anastasia Tsayder, who were included in FotoDepartament’s publishing initiative Amplitude No.1 last year. Photographers such as Danila Tkachenko, Andrey Bogush, and Mary Gelman, who have already picked up recognition from international institutions such as BJP, FOAM, and the Leica Oskar Barnack Award, are also included.

“Artists need mobility: their work should appear on international events. Unfortunately, an independent artist with a solid project is not necessarily someone who can afford a trip, an exhibition or any other form of project implementation. In Attention Hub we collect a budget in order to make future events possible. In addition to names’ presentation, the platform sets out a direction for Russian artists’ united movement on the international stage.”

From Sacred Procession, 2012 © Nikita Shokhov
From Trees cars figures of people assorted barriers, 2017 © Petr Antonov
Typical space between residential buildings in a 1970s neighbourhood. The trees and bushes planted in the neighbourhood were especially selected for longer lifespan and better air cleaning. Tolyatti, Samara region, Russia, 19 August, 2016. From Arcadia © Anastasia Tsayder
From Go There, 2014-18 © Andrey Ivanov
From Sceneries, 2017 © Ivan Pushkin
The architect created an urban space that could protect the inhabitants from violent winds of this area. The buildings are grouped together to form enclosed courtyards. To unsure a good circulation and avoid long routes bypassing buildings, architects planned very narrow passages between buildings. From Wild Path, 2013 © Elena Chernyshova
Tatiana and Minya are residents with Down syndrome. They met in the village and fell in love. They call each other husband and wife. From Tatyana and Minya, 2018 © Maria Gelman
From The Big Game, 2016 © Julia Abzaltdinova
From Girls, 2017 © Tatiana Vinogradova
From I hate you too © Ksenia Sidorova
From Instant Tomorrow, 2015 © Dimitry Lookianov
Interface Container, 2016 © Alexey Bogolepov
Linden, 2018 © Evgeniy Molodtsov
Interior photography, 2018 © Anna Prilutckaia
Diane Smyth

Diane Smyth is the editor of BJP, returning for a second stint on staff in 2023 - after 15 years on the team until 2019. As a freelancer, she has written for The Guardian, FT Weekend Magazine, Creative Review, Aperture, FOAM, Aesthetica and Apollo. She has also curated exhibitions for institutions such as The Photographers Gallery and Lianzhou Foto Festival. You can follow her on instagram @dismy