Michael Turek: Siberia 2020, Signed
Growing up near Washington DC at the end of the Cold War, New York–based photographer Michael Turek (born 1982) has always been drawn to Russia as a taboo, forbidden place. This project began in the winter of 2016 when he joined award-winning British writer Sophy Roberts as she pursued a three-year search for a historic piano in Siberia; he traveled to the region another five times, exploring the vast territory east of the Ural Mountains all the way to the Pacific.
Turek’s images record a constant tension―sometimes bizarre, often unsettling―between desecrated landscapes alongside pristine wildernesses; between the lives of indigenous people and modern Russians; between worn-out infrastructure and abandoned towns juxtaposed with gleaming new cities pumping gas and oil. The journey takes him deeper and deeper into small towns and villages, into the arsenic-green corridors of Khrushchev apartment blocks. The photographs have a slowness and a stillness to them. Each one is a fragment of a conversation, a moment of genuine intimacy between subject and photographer.