Boris Mikhailov’s Japan presents photos taken by the groundbreaking Ukrainian photographer in Tokyo during the winter of 2006-2007. “I want to know what is the real Japan and what is the difference between Japan and me,” Mikhailov stated as he embarked on his first long stay there. This selection of nearly 30 color photographs made with various techniques and formats reflects Mikhailov’s critical yet respectful observations of Tokyo life, while also confronting viewers’ preconceived notions about the Japanese people. Mikhailov’s spontaneous street scenes feature marginal figures: The old and the poor, the homeless lined up at a soup kitchen, people who have fearfully been wearing face masks since the 1995 Sarin gas attack. An ironic image of Mikhailov, his fist raised in defiance, echoes the gesture of writer and political activist Mishima Yukio, who committed Seppuku (ritual suicide) in 1970. The mix reveals Mikhailov to be an unbiased and astute social observer.
Published by Walther König, Köln. Edited by Inka Schube. Text by Oksana Bulgakowa, Boris Groys, Helen Petrovsky, Inka Schube, Bernd Stiegler, Tobias Wilke.
Ukrainian documentary photographer Boris Mikhailov (born 1938) is internationally admired for his intense, clear-eyed depictions of his homeland, the Ukraine--most famously, his portrayals of the everyday struggles of the bomzhes, the homeless, a class that dramatically enlarged after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Using this raw and emotive material, Mikhailov touches on themes ranging from the living conditions in post-communist Eastern Europe and the fallen ideals of the Soviet Union to the harsher trials of human existence. Although deeply rooted in a specific historical context, his work also narrates more accessible, personal threads of humor, lust, vulnerability, aging and death. This publication presents, in facsimile, Mikhailov’s well-known artist’s books Krymskaja Fotomanija (Crimean Photomania) and Mountains, each of which is 128 pages and which are here supplemented by 80 pages of informative, illustrated text.
For the acclaimed photographer Boris Mikhailov (born 1938), a society's most significant paradigm shifts are often most clearly perceived in the smallest of everyday transactions. For example, in a café or restaurant in the Soviet-era Ukraine, a waiter would have offered you "tea or coffee?" Today, two decades after the fall of the Soviet bloc and the ascent of western capitalism, it's "tea, coffee, cappuccino?" In his latest body of work, Mikhailov addresses this shift by focusing on his hometown of Charkow, in the north east of the Ukraine. Here, the consumerist invasion of western capitalism is everywhere apparent in huge, colorful advertising banners and billboards, but the promises of the so-called Orange Revolution seem to have been fulfilled for only a few. Mikhailov writes that "only when one sees misery in a picture, does one begin to notice it in the street," and throughout the 200-plus photographs in this volume, he takes pains to neither dramatize nor ameliorate the conditions of life in Charkow; and so his tough-minded pictures present a bleak but rigorously honest portrait of the Ukraine and its inhabitants.
In the early 1980s, before Glasnost and Perestroika, Boris Mikhailov made this series of photographs in his home town of Charkow, in the Ukraine. Mikhailov is best known for his ruthlessly honest documentation of the problems of Soviet and Russian daily life; this work, which has never been published before, is sometimes gentler.