Georgy Keymakh: identifying the object
First of all, choose your object
It’s banal to say that the choice of the photographed object is crucial. However, the process itself tells us a lot about the photographer. While some will focus on capturing nature in micro-perspective, the eyes of others will be drawn to the repetitiveness of urban infrastructure. Looking at Georgy Keymakh’s photographs, there’s no need to convince anyone that the author belongs to the latter group.
The Moscow metro is a space associated with several urban legends and many artistic inspirations. At the same time, for the residents of Moscow, there’s hardly a more everyday place. These spaces, witnessed and passed through almost daily by their users, gradually lose their distinctiveness; confined to their utilitarian role, they lose their contours. The tension between the uncanniness of the underground behemoth and its utilitarian status perfectly reflects the specificity of Georgy Keymakh’s perspective; focused on ordinary things to seek abnormalities within them.
When a photographer perceives the essence
Georgy Keymakh perceives the metro in a phenomenological way – he reaches the essence and inherent value that this place carries. Movement is a phenomenon exposed in almost every photograph in the series. The metro is a mass means of transportation. In these pictures we see characteristics of the underground railway – massiveness and motion, crowd and mobility.
Both of these characteristics are seen from the perspective of a security camera. The difference, in which the photographer’s intention is perfectly manifested, is the setting of the camera’s exposure time, its extension (along with several other aspects), causing the photograph to lose its surveillance utility, gaining aesthetic value in the process.
Historical references: the palimpsest
In the “Underground” series, the contours of individuals overlap, merging in the urban rush, moving only in one possible direction – forward. Analogously, the process of shaping the author’s artistic style proceeds – Georgy Keymakh draws from the history of urban and industrial photography. A discerning eye will notice repetitiveness characteristic of Albert Renger-Patzsch, or the long exposure time for which Gjon Mili was known. It’s also worth adding that the documentary style of this series inherently refers to the original purpose of the camera as a tool.
Author: Oskar Czapiewski