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Main-Tuning Reality: A Photo Exhibition by Russian Ambassador

On 30 January 2019 the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of South Africa and Market Photo Workshop jointly hosted the opening of a Photo Exhibition by H.E. Mr Mikhail Petrakov, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to South Africa. The event was held in the renowned Market Theatre located in the cultural heart of Johannesburg and known for the anti-racist posture it adopted during the years of apartheid.

Photo: H.E. Mr Mikhail Petrakov, Ambassador of the Russian Federation addressing guests

The Exhibition titled “Main-Tuning Reality” is dedicated to the Russian Diplomats’ Day and aimed at showing the surrounding environment through the eyes of a diplomat – namely, in a way which would expose the hidden essence of things and phenomena, the main tune of a situation or a composition. “The trick is to switch off all city lights to see stars, silence all sounds in the room to hear your heartbeat,” – this is how Ambassador Petrakov describes his artistic process.

It is very much in Russian diplomatic tradition to complement the profession with an artistic hobby. For instance, prominent Russian diplomat Alexander Griboyedov (1795 – 1829) was also known as a brilliant playwright, Privy Councillor Fyodor Tyutchev (1803 – 1873) wrote some of his best poems when on diplomatic missions, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is a co-author of the student anthem of his alma mater – the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO).


Among the distinguishing features of his photography is the fact that he does not confine himself to any particular style, treating artistic methods merely as means of conveying the essence. It is due to this approach that the exhibition is divided into several segments, starting from a collection of minimalist black and white photos and ending with a colorful series of jacaranda shots taken in quite an unconventional way. “My intention was not to show the tree itself but rather to convey the impression. In fact, I dissected jacaranda to reveal the visual effect produced by its blooming,” – explained the Ambassador in his opening remarks.

One of the centrepieces of the Exhibition is a selection of shots featuring the Russian Orthodox Church of St. Sergius located in Midrand, roughly between Pretoria and Johannesburg. Although the shots are artistically processed in their own distinct way, together they send a clear spiritual message, a call to distance oneself from the surrounding reality and raise one’s thoughts upwards.

The exhibition not only attracted the attention of the press and members of the diplomatic corps including fellow Ambassadors, but also raised the interest of the South African youth, namely the students of the local school of photography.

The Exhibition will run until the 6th of February and anyone interested in experimental art is welcome to share his/her own opinion on the ideas transmitted through the camera lens of an honored Russian diplomat.

Embassy of the Russian Federation in South Africa

 

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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February 2019

 
 
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