|Product Details |
Yale University Press
From Library Journal
A vast society, long in collapse, officially shattered when the Soviet Union was dismantled in the early 1990s. Sherbell, an award-winning documentary photographer, spent three years capturing that extended moment of cultural change. Here, 230 of his intense black-and-white images detail discomfort, agony, and closely held hope. Most of the photographs depict a hard reality; encased in a landscape colored by shades of gray, people are dominated by ironworks and cracked statues, isolated by deep snows and cement expanses, and wearied by scarce goods and bruising labor. But Sherbell proves himself to be a keen humorist as well. Several key images such as a fire hose poked through a door; a woman suspended above Siberia's summer mud in her home, made from a renovated gas tank; and a Kilroyesque bust of Lenin provide necessary comic relief, just as the many photographs of people expressing all kinds of feelings solidify the presence of an active human spirit. This expansive collection, unique in its range and artistic vision, is recommended for all libraries. Rebecca Miller, "Library Journal"
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
*Starred Review* For three years (1991-93), photographer Sherbell, working for the German magazine Der Spiegel, canvased the Soviet Union for images of a society that many sensed was about to change drastically. Although his pictures reach American eyes 8 to 10 years later, that doesn't diminish their impact at all. All done in black and white, they are gray and grim, raw and rueful, lightened only occasionally by a smile, a celebration, a moment of prayer. Displayed thematically in chapters on... read more
This unparalleled collection of photographs documents the years surrounding the collapse of the Soviet Union. Through the camera lens Shepard Sherbell tells a story that language alone cannot. He captures in more than 200 black-and-white images the previously unseen reality of everyday life in the fifteen former Soviet republics. In these photographs--sometimes humorous, amazing, or troubling, always enthralling--Sherbell offers an unprecedented view of people caught in the crucial moment of transition between communism and capitalism, repression and freedom, security and anarchy. On assignment for the German weekly Der Spiegel, Sherbell traveled throughout the dismantled Soviet Union from 1990 to 1993 with more freedom than a citizen could have achieved. Unrestricted in his access to subject matter, he recorded the faces and lives of those who inhabit what was once a superpower. Mothers, mine workers, prisoners, farmers, housewives, children--Sherbell shows us without sentimentality how life looked for a people whose awe-inspiring capacity to survive has been--and continues to be--tested. Serge Schmemann provides a general retrospective and moving introduction to the book.