2009-2019 (ongoing) — Siberia, Russia
About this series
Motherland as a mega-idea, as an idol to worship and defend, as a geolink of kinship and duty, does not exist anymore. Spaces are sliced up, pieces are grabbed. Everything is alien; there is nothing to love, nothing worth sacrificing your life for… Everlasting need of heartiness pushes us to shift from devotion to territories – to care for the ones who live there.
My motherland for me is extraterritorially, it is a sequence of faces and fates. People I met, whom I connected with, who changed or provoked something inside of me, who warmed my heart and supported me – my kindred soul.
Assembling endless puzzles of photos and texts about the daily life of Russian provinces – simple stories of simple heroes in simple circumstances – I tried to present my country through the stories of its inhabitants and their surroundings, through their faces, or my own feelings.
My attempts to “open up Siberia” visually to the wider world means for me a kind of diplomacy within photography. It is a very personal gaze to the depth of Russia, country that has now become scary for many. This “Siberian soul’s song” is all about the understanding. —Valeriy Klamm
I have been working on the subject of rural life. Initially as a head of international photographers expedition teams (Great Rivers and Roads of Northern Asia), later – as a sole photographer, film-maker and storyteller.
Since 2009, as a founder and editor, I have run a photo blog titled “Birthmarks on the Map” and devoted to daily life in Russian provinces: simple stories of simple heroes in simple circumstances, beyond the headlines and away from big cities. There are dozens of contributors – Russian and foreign photographers. As for me, in collaboration with ethnographers and anthropologists, local museums and explorers I am building an archive for my own work.
My works captured throughout the South-Western Siberia were published (LensCulture, Cultural Anthropology, NPR, OpenDemocracy, RussianReporter, BirdInFlight etc), showcased in my region (see 3D virtual tour) , in Moscow (Tretyakovskaya State Gallery / International Biennale of Contemporary Art) and outside the Russia – in Australia, Sweden, Cambodia, Canada, China, UK.
Self-published photo books: The Siberians (2013) and prints-on-demand ByTheWay (2016).
Since 2018 my blog and rural activities are in stand-by mode, I am studying and capturing humanity in ‘city jungles’.
1961 – born in Novosibirsk, Russia
1983 – Bachelors in Architecture (graduated in Novosibirsk).
1999-2004 – “Culture” Program Coordinator of the Soros Foundation in Novosibirsk branch. In 2000 headed Siberian part of “East of Magnum” Project (Magnum Photos ‘ exhibitions and master-classes).
2002-2005 – Head of international photo-expeditions: Sayano-Altay, Yenissey River, East Kazakhstan.
Since 2009 – Founder and Editor of “Birthmarks on the Map” photo blog community.
Since 2011 – Member of The Russian Union of Art photographers, expert of The Russian Geographical Society.
2017-2018 – Jury member of the FAPA (Fine Art Photography Awards).