A guide to the New East
Photography

Night lives: photographing a new generation around Minsk

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Born and bred in Belarus, photographer Aleksey Naumchik captures the contemporary youth of Minsk with their parties and nocturnal ramblings in his series Y Minsk. By doing so he shows another side to a country that is often labelled “Europe's last dictatorship”. “Looking at documentary projects about Belarus I always had the feeling that I couldn’t see myself in them,” he explains. “Cliches that represent Belarus as a dictatorship, a closed country with a Soviet past, create a picture which is very hard to relate to. I see recently how the people around me and the city are changing. It could be capitalism, being close to Europe or just the new generation of young people — I can’t say, but there is a movement and change in the air.” Naumchik’s characters do what youngsters in any city would do: hang out, kiss, smoke, fall over and try to experience as much of life as possible. The city is hardly present in the series — just a ghostly background of empty parking lots and walls to lean against. “My characters also have a feeling of sadness and anxiety, a lack of future benchmarks,” says the photographer. “Who are we, the new generation? By capturing my friends and the city we live in I’m trying to answer this question.” 

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