Anastasia Taylor-Lind – Review

Over the past week I have been looking at incorporating moving image to my Fmp. The idea is to make my images into a set of series with sound played over the top, by sounds I mean ones that remind me of Chan & Alan, noises I accosiate with them ie. spinning wheel, organ ect. I also want to record them talking where I am going to ask them questions aswell as recording them randomly when I go and visit them.

My biggest inspiration for the video is this by Anastasia Taylor-Lind called “Women of cossack resurgence” which you can view below.

Anastasia Taylor-Lind

Anastasia Taylor-Lind is an English/Swedish Documentary photographer. She created a series of images documenting the women of the Cossack Resurgence. The Cossack Resurgence is based in Southern Russia and it is about learning about their warrior traditions as well as their cultural heritage. It all began in 1991 with the collapse of the USSR (The Union of Soviet Socialist Republic).

The aim of this school is to resurrect their historic role as defenders of Russia, children from the age as young as 12 years old to 18 years old are keen to join the military schools. In the schools they get taught about the normal academical subjects as well as the traditional skills which involve horse ridding, martial arts, folk dancing, shooting, parachuting and something called Shashka performance. Shashka is a big sword which is used for fencing.

These particular military schools intend on working to resurrect the Amazon spirit through the teenage girls because of the legendary story of the Amazon warrior women. The fable tale which is told is that a large area of forrest land in Belaya Kalitva was once inhabited by the Amazon Women Warriors and that there was an ancient discovery of burial mound containing a red haired woman surrounded by weapons and a horse. I think that this is why they are taught how to horse ride as well as using weapons so they that can channel their inner Amazon warrior spirit.

There is a woman who is dressed in camouflage staring innocently into space whilst weaving a basket. when you see someone wearing a camouflage outfit you think of military and that in itself connotes violence, protection, masculinity and war. To see a woman in this attire changes the entire perspective because it is believed that women shouldn’t be in this line of career. The colours are saturated yet somewhat dull. There aren’t any bright colours but I feel that it works with the image because bright colours to me connote happiness and although that this could be a happy place it isn’t meant to be fun and games. The dullness within the image creates that serious atmosphere. She is weaving a basket which it activities such a making, sewing, cleaning etc is classed as a feminine job; so in this image Anastasia is combing the two sides of this womans’ life to show the versatility of a modern day woman. 

This is one of the images from the series ‘Women of the Cossack Resurgence’ due to the format of the image I am guessing Anastasia used a medium format camera with colour film as the image is in colour. I don’t think that she had any artificial lighting, I think that she situate the subject near the window to make use of the natural lighting.

Here is another image that is in the Cossack series. This image was also taken with a medium format camera because of the square format and I think that once again Taylor-Lind has used natural lighting.

This is a standard portrait of one of the elderly women who are in the Cossack military school. Her body language is very dignified and just like the other woman in the previous image she is staring into space not facing the camera. It also gives off the impression that she is deep in thought. The fact that this elderly lady is wearing the camouflage attire but has a floral wallpaper and the ceramic teapot does show the more feminine, gentle side. There is vignetting around the image which draws the viewer into the focal point. The colours are still prominent but not so much that it takes away the seriousness of the atmosphere.

I personally really like this photos. I like the idea behind showing the two different sides of a military female and the colours that are infused within the photograph. It also goes to show that no matter what your age is as long as the mind is fit, the body is too. The information that I can take away from these images is that when I am photographing my subjects in the studio, I need to think about the lighting. How create the atmosphere that I want and also using the idea of a woman doing a masculine job but also showing the feminine. gentle side.

Anastasia Taylor-Lind – Review

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