They are the best of the best. The winners of national and local contests. They are proof that everything goes well. They are the pride of the nation. They are the image the authorities give to society.
Feature / Stand By / The Winners by Rafal Milach
Stand By (2011-2012) Seven Sputnik photographers went to Belarus to see what was hidden behind the statement “the last dictatorship in Europe”. Slowly, layer by layer, they filtered Belarus and discovered it for themselves. The project, during which the material of the book was compiled, went on for two years. During this time the photographers wanted to collect material to show daily life in Belarus, since things that are seemingly distant from the world of politics and the Lukashenko regime are absent from media reports broadcast around the world. As Victor Martinovich writes in his essay on Belarus: “At every turn, you come across examples of a double system; there are two writers’ unions, between 1996 and 1999 there were even two parliaments. Life is hard, but at the same time when you come to Minsk, everything is clean and tidy”. The authors of “Stand By” didn’t want to create a political material. They immersed themselves in daily life, talking about war and memory (Andrei Liankevich, Agnieszka Rayss), modern Belarusian heroes and the language of propaganda (Rafał Milach), the oldest forest in Europe (Jan Brykczyński), fashion (Adam Pańczuk), women who want to marry a foreigner (Justyna Mielnikiewicz). Photographers: Andrei Liankevich, Agnieszka Rayss, Jan Brykczyński, Adam Pańczuk, Rafał Milach, Justyna Mielnikiewicz and Manca Juvan Curator: Andrzej Kramarz Book design: Ania Nalecka / Tapir Book Design