A. Shepelin. Watering Horses This was the title of an exhibition of works by members of photography artists association, marking the International Photography Day, held at the Tashkent House of Photography. Over the time the association existed, every photographer experienced both success and crisis in his art.

The exhibition displayed ten works of each author. To draw specific conclusions, one should regard them as a kind of integral and indivisible unit, a general aggregation of emotions and thoughts. Individual photographs of any of the artists are just a tiny fraction of a drama that is exposed in front of you — like pieces of a puzzle, the multitude of which makes up the overall picture of the photographer’s art.

Every photographer aimed to create and reflect his own inner world through a photograph. What happens next is up to the viewers who appreciate and empathize, discuss and admire…

17 authors represent 17 constant values in photography, including some «cultural heroes» namely Rustam Sharipov, Michael Levkovich, Iskander Sadykov, and Vladimir Sokolov. Perfectly sensitive and heeding to their compatriots, they have been able to create the atmosphere of new times with subtle historical inserts. These are the stunningly beautiful panoramas of Tashkent City and Chimgan mountains, the historical centres of our country, and ordinary people living in the new century. Photographs in the exhibition are no parables; neither are they metaphors or allegories. They do not have any subtle projections or references to the past, or any mythological allusions; the «flow of life» is not cut through by any provocative art form on the verge of dramatized Baroque (production photography). Aesthetics of these works is in the «gushing life», in the celebration, in the beauty of faces and scenery…

R. Sharipov.  Roads to the Future A different vector is represented by les enfants terribles of Uzbek photography — Vladimir Shlosberg, Linur Ametov, Vladimir Zhirnov, and Sergei Karandaev. Photographs, where shapes and images mixed up in colour eclectics create a very different impression, induce different emotions. Vladimir Shlosberg’s series «Let Us Protect the Children» not only focuses on the need to protect children, but is also an indication of total alienation of the modern world and cruelty of today’s morals, which make it hard to reach to the human heart preoccupied with material concerns. And «A Secret Path» is like an entrance to a different reality. There is an allusion to Plato’s cave, as well as the idea of «ever returning» characteristic of myth-making, where the reality of imagination and the reality of our time adjoin at a single point.

Works by Vladimir Zhirnov are, on the one hand, a masterful play of light and shadow and, on the another, a poetic lyricism, metaphysics of spirit. A gigantic shadow on the rock, in which one can clearly discern a human face; or soft and warm composition of traditional architectural ornamentation, where shadow highlights and natural sunlight come together in an amazingly subtle proportion. The photography art of Vladimir Zhirnov can be referred to as «art for the art sake», where there is room for experiment, for art has never been about compliance to the rules, just as the essence of river is not in dikes and dams. Two expressive portrait photographs of infants only intensify this warm and vivid impression.

Series by Sergei Karandaev «In the Bus» is charged to the limit with energy, sentimentality and even with blues. Just as in his other series, «Mahalla», the author does not turn away from the reality of daily routine; instead, he uses it to create another reality, vibrant and curious. In these photographs there is plenty of artistry and drama remote from mundane day-to-day life.

One cannot help but notice two black-and-white series by two different authors. One is «Beau Monde» by Victor An — a monumental work originating from the mid-seventies of the last century. Brilliant in form and composition, these works are also interesting in terms of their content. Faces and figures of military and civilian audience are somewhat in contrast with the title, giving the piece a humorous note. All got mixed up in the world, poor pretend to be rich, and today’s beau monde is a completely different cast of refined but not always gentle and intellectual people.

Series by Alexander Shepelin «Horses at the Watering» is the right thing for aestheticism-oriented connoisseurs. A cherry in the pie, so to say.

Those who have not been able to visit the exhibition, have really missed a lot, for the participants worked a true celebration for the audience, since photography is a play of mind, feelings and emotions; it is life itself. But the most important thing in photography is that very instant, that very second when you are anxiously looking into the camera lenses to make the long-awaited everlasting frames. One second, and the living picture of you probably have already gotten into the memory, into the «hard disk» of a million people’ brain. You can never prepare for this moment, even if you think about it all your life; you will not have time to realize — this is it. And then it is gone instantly. It has flown away. For it is the moment that reflects the whole world. Do not miss it!

Parviz Kurbanmamadov