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No Passports Or Pornography: Meet The Czarina Of Russian Photography

One of modern Russia’s most influential cultural figures has made photography a high-art form in the former Communist land. She’s also made some enemies along the way.

No Passports Or Pornography: Meet The Czarina Of Russian Photography
Sviblova with President Medvedev and Spain's King Juan Carlos
Claire Guillot and Marie Jégo

Anyone who meets Olga Sviblova never forgets the experience. Russia's ‘Miss Photography", and director of Moscow's new Multimedia Art Museum, is an inexhaustible whirlwind of human activity. Able to hold down two conversations at once, with a receiver in each hand (and a cigarette in a third!), she likes to cut off callers with the promise: "I will call you straight back". She never does.

Long and lithe, blonde and dressed in black, this graceful fifty-something with a ballerina's chignon has been known to fix business meetings at 3 a.m. She likes nothing more than to be chain smoking and talking art at the break of dawn. You should also factor in her inimitable vocabulary as well as decibel levels off the scale, because Olga Sviblova likes to shout. Only her French husband is graced with sweet purring words down the phone. "On several occasions, we have nearly come to blows', admits the artist Alexandre Ponomaref, whose work Olga exhibited at the Russian Pavilion of the 2009 Venice Biennale. "She is a difficult character. She never listens to anyone, but she has talent. Very few people of her calibre exist in Russia today, and she's done a lot to ensure Russian culture is represented on the international stage."

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Society

Urban Indigenous: How Peru's Shipibo-Conibo Keep Amazon Culture Alive In The City

For four years, indigenous photographer David Díaz Gonzales has documented the lives and movements of his Shipibo-Conibo community, as many of them migrated from their native Peruvian Amazon to the city. A work of remembrance and resistance.

For Shipibo-Conibo women, sporting a fringe is usually a sign of celebration or ceremony.

Rosa Chávez Yacila

YARINACOCHA — It was decades ago when the Shipibo-Conibo left their settlements along the banks of the Ucayali River, in eastern Peru, to begin a great migration to the cities. Still among the largest Amazonian communities in Peru — 32,964 according to the Ministry of Culture — though most Shipibo-Conibo now live in the urban district of Yarinacocha.

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