Wednesday, December 27, 2006Home

Interview with Gerd Ludwig at PhotographyBLOG

Gerd Ludwig (CameraArts January/February 2007) has had a big year. After being named a Kingston Icon of Photography, honors at Visa Pour L'Image in Perpignan, and receiving the International Photographer of the Year Award at the 2006 Lucie Awards, Ludwig discusses his work in the former Soviet Union, and the path his work has taken to being featured in such publications as the National Geographic, in an interview on PhotographyBLOG. In his acclaimed series "Broken empire," Ludwig's images capture many tragic realities of post-communist Russia (the fallout of Chernobyl and economic ruin among them), as well as occassional moments of celebration and happiness among the people. Many of these latter images have a dark background of their own.

"In Broken Empire (Ludwig) cites Dusha, the Russian soul, with its rich tapestry of compassion and the capacity to endure great suffering. In his own words it is “'An unconscious drive, belief in the inexplicable and the mysterious. It is people reading books in forests. All-night conversations. Drunks pondering the meaning of life. It's not the Western search for well-being, it does not acknowledge harsh reality, it is the antithesis of everyday modern life. It is forgiveness, empathy, conscience, and the ability of humans to partake in the Divine.'” But when we speak he has another explanation: “'I don't believe in a finished story. If you take on a story you know nothing about, then you only stay on the surface. If, for example, you don't know what the U.S. confederate flag is and you walk by a garden with one in it, you miss the image. The more you know about your subject, the wider your view. That's why you find a lot of decent photographers working mostly on one theme. To find one calling can make a great photographer.'”

Gerd Ludwig and the 2006 Lucie Awards will be covered in more detail in our upcoming January/February 2007 issue of CameraArts. You can see more of Gerd Ludwig's work here.

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