Open binding, English and Russian, 672 pages ISBN: 978-5-907183-60-5 V-A-C Press
Mikhail Tolmachev explores three albums of photographs from the Solovetsky Special Purpose Camp, which depict camp life in the 1920s and 1930s. The first was given to the political figure Sergei Kirov, the second to the writer Maxim Gorky, and the third was transferred from the family archive to the Moscow Museum of Gulag History.
In an attempt to free the albums from their linear narratives, we reworked them visually together with Mikhail Tolmachev. In “White sea colours” the frames are arranged seemingly chaotically, but in fact their order is subject to a clear internal logic and is conditioned by the subtleties of placing the images on the printing sheets. In addition, the photographs from each collection are colour-coded according to the CMYK model used for printing in the printing house. As a result, some subjects emerge more clearly while others become barely discernible, revealing and criticising the mechanics of narrative construction.
We have contributed a text (download below) to the book, in which Benjamin elaborates on the design decisions and thoughts related to Walter Benjamin's understanding of history. Thanks to Miriam Stoney for her help in organizing the thoughts, Charlotte Neve for her help in revising the text, and Olga Stebleva for her support throughout.
Photos by Ruslan Shavaleev and Olga Stebleva. Copyright V–A–C Press.