The story takes place in Degtyarsk, a mining town in the heart of the Ural Mountains in the province of Sverdlovsk in Russia. This city has developed around the exploitation of a copper-rich sub-soil, and today the two ends of the town come up against a slag heap, forming two improbable mountains that are visible from every point of the city. This identity, so peculiar to the mining towns, which consists in making mountains of waste, reminded him of the famous work of the master of Japanese woodblock prints Hokusai and his no less famous series of 36 views of Mount Fuji. Fyodor Telkov tells us about the town of Degtyarsk in the shadow of its heaps, omnipressent wherever we find ourselves, like his Japanese predecessor who traveled through towns and countryside, hunting in every corner and every places a view of the Mount Fuji.
Like with Hokusai, this work is a pretext to show the daily life of the town where modernity is still close to the secular. The book opens with images of the past, allegorical murals or parades of the Soviet era. Then we discover the 36 views superbly printed on a very beautiful thick and mate paper that perfectly restores the depth of the blacks. Sometimes, as on the first two views, the mountain is understood instantly. We are at the foot of a heap for the first and at the top on the second, high point from where we discover the city under the snow, while the shadow cast of the heap draws its image on the ground. One thinks of Brueghel, also with these broad views of the city under the snow while characters in the foreground, devote themselves to playful activities.
This book takes us through the town, where we meet people, find traces of life, discover waste. Time seems slowed down, sometimes one loses oneself and one then seeks to find the mountain thanks to which one can be oriented again. But these mountains are also guardians and witnesses. They tell us the extent of environmental pollution. These two mountains form a remote valley from which we can not extricate ourselves. A community appears through the traces of this mining history, a community that Fyodor Telkov tells us.
A special mention for the cover of the book and more specifically the jacket. The cover is covered with small embossed dots. At first I thought it was a default, but these points were far too perfect, so, unfolding the jacket and turning it over, one discovers a plan of the town on which are embossed these points, locating the points of view.
This Project is the winner of the First Fotocanal Photography Book Competition, organized by the Comunidad de Madrid and Ediciones Anómalas.
“Fyodor Telkov – 36 views” is Published by Ediciones Anómalas and Comunidad de Madrid in 2016;
32 x 21,5 cm. 88 pages. Clothbound hardcover with jacket
“Photobook of the Month” is curated by Christer Ek (Christophe Le Toquin) of “Who needs another photo blog“, a blog where he shares some thoughts about photography. Christer is a French photographer and also a photobook collector.