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burn magazine

Emerging Photographer Fund – 2013 Recipient


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EPF 2013 Runner-up

Oksana Yushko

Balaklava: The Lost History

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This project is a part of my exploration of people’s mind who were born in the USSR.

Changing people’s mind is the most difficult thing. The Soviet Union hasn’t existed for 20 years but the shadow of it lies everywhere. Things have changed but people’s minds and attitudes have not.

I made my way to Balaklava, a small town by the sea in the Crimean Peninsula, Ukraine. During the Soviet era, it was a city that didn’t exist to the outside world. The town closed to the public for more than 30 years due to the submarine base that was situated there.

Almost the entire population of Balaklava worked at the base and even their family members could not visit the town without a good reason or proper identification. It was a closed society, an ambitious, privileged caste, a major league, a private club with limited membership. Officers were well paid, enjoyed special apartments and were given other privileges. It used to be like this.

After the collapse of the USSR in 1992, the Soviet army was automatically transferred to Russia’s control. It was only in 1997 that the ships and equipment of the Black Sea Fleet were officially divided between the two countries Russia and Ukraine. The process of fleet division remains painful since many aspects of the two navies co-existence are under-regulated, causing recurring conflicts.

The system collapse turned the once privileged Soviet officers into unwanted people.
Crossing the streets of Balaklava, I saw traces of this not only in the town but also on people’s faces. They still live in the past. Their attitude to the present situation is complicated, but most of them don’t want to look forward to the future.


Oksana Yushko is a freelance photographer based in Moscow. She started working as a professional journalist in 2006 and currently focuses on personal projects in Russia, Chechnya, Ukraine and other post-Soviet countries. Yushko was a selected participant of the 2011 Noor-Nikon Masterclass in Documentary Photography in Bucharest, Romania, and a finalist of the 2010 Conscientious Portfolio Competition. She was also finalist of the 2013 Chiang Mai Documentary Arts Festival, the Grand Prize Winner of Lens Culture International Exposure Awards 2011, a finalist of the Aftermath Project 2010 and a 2011 finalist of the Manuel-Riveira Oritz Foundation. Yushko’s work has been exhibited in galleries in Russia, Finland, UK, USA, and France and her work has been published by media across the world.


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Oksana Yushko




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Kaspersky Lab

Researchers have uncovered an ongoing, large-scale computer espionage network that's targeting hundreds of diplomatic, governmental, and scientific organizations in at least 39 countries, including the Russian Federation, Iran, and the United States.

Operation Red October, as researchers from antivirus provider Kaspersky Lab have dubbed the highly coordinated campaign, has been active since 2007, raising the possibility it has already siphoned up hundreds of terabytes of sensitive information. It uses more than 1,000 distinct modules that have never been seen before to customize attack profiles for each victim. Among other things, components target individual PCs, networking equipment from Cisco Systems, and smartphones from Apple, Microsoft, and Nokia. The attack also features a network of command-and-control servers with a complexity that rivals that used by the Flame espionage malware that targeted Iran.

"This is a pretty glaring example of a multiyear cyber espionage campaign," Kaspersky Lab expert Kurt Baumgartner told Ars. "We haven't seen these sorts of modules being distributed, so the customized approach to attacking individual victims is something we haven't seen before at this level."

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STAYING COOL: A boy cooled off with water from a hose on a hot day in Manila Tuesday. (Cheryl Ravelo/Reuters)

MOURNING A LOSS: A Shiite Muslim woman cried during the funeral of Salah Abbas, 36, whose body was found late last week after he was allegedly shot dead by security forces, in the Shiite village of Bilad Al-Qadim, Bahrain, Monday. (AFP/Getty Images)

LARGER THAN LIFE: North Korean leader Kim Jong Eun was shown on a giant screen during a concert on the eve of the 80th anniversary of the founding of the North Korean army in Pyongyang, North Korea, Tuesday. (Ng Han Guan/Associated Press)

AWKWARD PHASE: A girl helped her boyfriend squeeze a pimple while standing on a street in downtown Shanghai Tuesday. (Aly Song/Reuters)

STILL SEARCHING: Bystanders looked at a billboard in Herat, Afghanistan, promising a reward for information leading to the recovery of former FBI agent Robert Levinson Tuesday. Mr. Levinson disappeared some five years ago in Iran. (Jalil Rezayee/European Pressphoto Agency)

LOOKING BACK: People laid flowers at a memorial Tuesday in Yerevan, Armenia, to people killed by Ottoman Turks during World War I, marking the 97th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. (Karen Minasyan/AFP/Getty Images)

STORM CLOUDS GATHER: Dark clouds hung over cranes at a construction site in Munich Tuesday. (Stephan Jansen/AFP/Getty Images)

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Having recently shot campaigns for Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Colors, National Geographic and Dazed & Confused, freelance photographer Tim Georgeson is generally described as a commercial photographer. Last year however, Georgeson returned to a set of images he shot in Kosovo during the war - a striking black-and-white series that he now plans on turning into a film called The Untouchables. We caught up with him to find out more…

Hey Tim, how are you doing
Good, sorry, I just got off a conference call about a shoot I'm doing in the desert early next month.

Which desert are you shooting in?
California, outside Palm Springs.

Nice! So, you're currently in the process of making a film called The Untouchables, could you tell us a little bit about that?
The Untouchables is a film made from stills of the gypsies of Kosovo that I followed when they were being driven out of Kosovo during the war. The series won at the World Press Photo awards, has been exhibited in Perpignan at the Photojournalism festival and in Armenia, New York and Sydney. I was asked by MSF and a few magazines to go and shoot out there because I had been there before. So I hooked up with the same Australian journalist I used to work with and we travelled there together and spent four weeks with these people. This series was published in many magazines in the US, Europe and Australia and was a big breakthrough for me as a documentary photographer.

Wow, did you enjoy the time you spend there?
It was one of the best experiences. I ate, danced and totally immersed myself as much as possible into there way of life. I witnessed first hand the power, courage and determination of these amazing people who are constantly being persecuted. It took two days of meetings with the chief of the clan for them to accept and trust us.

Do you think that's why the photographs turned out so well?
Of course, for me you just can't expect to have any emotion in the images if you don't get involved. I shoot with small lenses, 35mm or 28 mm, so it's confronting but honest, and that's why you need the time to melt into their life and become a fly on the wall as much as possible, you have to speak and observe in a personal way. I hardly shot any images for the first two days, I was just laying with the kids and observing, drinking, dancing, eating and having fun with them. On the third day I really felt at ease and the people carried on as normal, even with me around. The honesty in the images reflects this hopefully.

Have you shown them the resulting images?
Yes, we sent some prints to them via some NGO contacts and they loved them.

Do you think you'll show the film out there as well?
I would love to show them, I'm not sure when that could be through…

Where do you plan to premiere it first?
Probably in Sydney at the Australian Center of Photography and also in Holland, there is some interest out there.

You say in your statement you can be sometimes be found "skateboarding with reindeer herders", is that just a joke or do you skateboard?
I grew up on the northern beaches in Sydney, so surfing, skating and sailing was my life. I'm just getting back into skating, I'm going to let out a little secret - my wife and kids are buying me a new longboard for my birthday to skate the streets of Montreal. I've started snowboarding here with the kids too, it's the next best thing to going for a surf.

We tend to ask people this a lot, but it always seems to be the case - did you get into photography through skateboard culture?
No, not really. My grandfather was a keen amateur photographer and my brother works in film. My parents are artists/designers and my sister is a potter, so visual design is what I grew up on. When I first started out I shot for surf brands a lot, because of the contacts I had. I have to say, I'm lucky to have the most supportive wife in the world and awesome kids that have allowed me to go off and come home with some great stories. This is why I shoot a lot more personal work, so we can all be involved now.

Since being in North America I've seen how influential the skate, youth, film and photography scene is. They're really starting to push new boundaries in commercial work and loosen things up, keeping it raw and real, which is super exciting. The digital age has caused commercial photography to go way too far for my liking, it's so plastic and all the images look the same.

Thanks Tim, good luck with the film and the shoot in the desert!
Thanks Jack!

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