by valeriy klamm
Siberia from the inside
with local photographer
Motherland as a mega-idea, as a collective idol to worship and to defend, as a geo-link of the kinship and duty does not exist anymore. Spaces sliced up, pieces are grabbed, love relations between people and 'its' lands are eroded. Everything is alien; there is nothing to love and to sacrifice one's life... Everlasting need of heartiness shifts us from devotion to territories – to the affection to ones who inhabit it.

My motherland for me is extraterritorial and inner entity, it is more like a sequence of faces and fates. Ones whom I met, ones who was born somewhere, who moves along their life lines on the globe, who changed or raised something inside of me, who warmed and supported me – my kin in soul.

In the Russian language the word rodinka means both a birthmark, a small dark dot on the skin (label of the sib? geo-tag?), and a small Motherland (rodina), that place on the map which ties living ones with a feeling of home. I titled my photo-blog, launched in 2009 and devoted to rural Russia - Rodinki na karte / Birthmarks on the Map.

If its gaze has a voice, it sounds like an old radio, nostalgic and lyric one.

My attempts to "open up Siberia" visually to the wider world mean for me a kind of diplomacy within photography. It is a very personal gaze to the depth of Russia, country that now becomes scary for many. But this "Siberian soul's song" is about the common, about the understanding.

Valeriy Klamm, the Siberian
Children waiting for a Christmas show in the local House of Culture in the village of Begul.
What does Siberia mean – beyond clichés like the Trans-Siberian train, Lake Baikal, oil, cold, or vodka? Who are the inhabitants of vast rural Russia and what is their daily reality - thousands miles away from the capital?

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, the essential that lays between the lines and beyond the headlines, away from big cities.

In collaboration with ethnographers and anthropologists, local museums and explorers I gathered a unique visual archive of my own works. I published photo books, showcasing my photography in Russia and worldwide (photo festivals, contemporary art events, museums, universities).

I'm looking for professionals interested in engaging with me in worldwide cooperation: promoting and sales of my imagery, exhibiting and publishing it, and the co-production of the new visual content.
'Birthmarks': selected links
media and multimedia
By Valeriy Klamm for book crowdfunding on IndieGoGo, 2016
The 'chorus' of photographers-contributors along with the folk soundtrack 'Incantation' by Sergey Starostin & friends. Length: 8 min,
By Vladimir Itkin for, 2016
A significant part of Russia remains unknown to many of its citizens — mainstream media have no interest in the provinces. This photoblog captures a provincial life otherwise left behind.
By Grant Slater for NPR / National Public Radio, 2014
The gap between how foreigners view Russia and how Russians view themselves is wide and as old as the country itself.
In English, 'Siberia' contains letters S, I, B – sib, kinship. That's how I accustomed to act while capturing: as a close one.

Personally, since early 2000-th I'm working on the theme of rural life. Initially - as a head of international photo expedition teams (Great Rivers and Roads of Northern Asia), later - as a sole photographer, film-maker and storyteller.

My works captured throughout the South-Western Siberia were published (LensCulture, Cultural Anthropology, NPR, OpenDemocracy, Russian Reporter, BirdInFlight etc), showcased in my region (see 3D virtual tour, **flash player required), in Moscow (Tretyakovskaya State Gallery / Intnl Biennale of Contemporary Art) and outside the Russia - in Australia, Sweden, Cambodia, Canada, China, UK.

My imagery turned into series of self-published photo books: The Siberians (2013) and print-on-demand ByTheWay (2016).

Briefly about:

1983 – Bachelors in Architecture.
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 Fine Art Photography Awards.
Larger selection from my archive
Welcome to my photo storage
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