Three photographers, each with a unique view, open a door into three mysterious, veiled or excluded communities of Estonia.
Featuring: Annika Haas, Maxim Mjödov, Birgit Püve
Juhan Kuus Documentary Photography Centre
Kristel Laur & Toomas Järvet
Estonia is a small country laid out on 45,339 kilometers with a population of 1,316 million. We are few but we have layers of diﬀerent minority cultures and communities to whom local Estonian-speaking majority refers as “Others.” It is no surprise. We humans, understand the world through oppositions. Speaking of “One” always implies the “Other.” But there is this phenomenon about Other — as soon as we get closer, we are able to describe and understand it, then the Other becomes known and we are able to include them into the One.
Three photographers open a door for us into three diﬀerent worlds of The Others in Estonia. Maxim Mjödov takes us to the peripheral landscapes of Lasnamäe — a suburban area near the capital of Tallinn, which is widely considered as the main living area for the major Other, the Russian-speaking population who mostly migrated during the USSR from all over the Soviet Union.
The work of Birgit Püve examines the small settlement of Vao and it’s current inhabitants. The remote village of Vao has survived because of immigration, and immigrants have always been one of the most obvious example of Otherness. At ﬁrst, Vao experienced the migration of diﬀerent nationalities of Soviet Union when sovkhozes and kolkhozes were established and now the village is experiencing its ‘second wave of immigration’ as the centre for asylum seekers.
Annika Haas shows light to the most mysterious minority of Others in Estonia — Romas or Gypsies. The majority of “locals” look at them suspiciously, although they don’t know their habits and traditions. Annika’s images give us a unique opportunity to take an intimate look at their lives and homes.
Annika Haas is an artist and a documentary photographer with an interest in marginal social groups or subcultures, depicting them in intriguing photography series. She studied at the University of Tartu from 1992 to 2000, earning a BA degree in Finno-Ugric languages. She has also taken courses in professional photography and documentary photography in London in 2003 and in 2012. She is a portrait and documentary photography editor at Estonian photo magazine, Positiiv. Annika’s works have been exhibited and recognized in Estonia and abroad, and she has been a winner and finalist of several international photo contests; she has been awarded the Grand Prize in Estonian Press Photo 2014 contest and won in the Feature Photo category of the same contest twice (2010, 2017).
Birgit Püve is an Estonian photographer whose work has been shown around the world. A former journalist and editor, Püve’s work focuses on memory and identity. In 2014, she received third prize in The Taylor Wessing Photographic Prize at London’s National Portrait Gallery. Her photographs have been published in The Washington Post, The Guardian and other international publications. One of Püve’s best known series of photographs is “Estonian Documents”, which has been shown in London, Gdansk and Berlin.
Maxim Mjödov is a fine art photographer, born in Tallinn, Estonia. Fascinated with emulsion based photography, he entirely dedicated himself to studying it starting from 2003 and began to experiment in search of expressive forms and photographic possibilities as a tool for acquiring knowledge about and analyzing his own and surrounding life. The main themes of his work are relationships in modern society, transformation and influence of landscape, perception of time, and narrative and poetry in photography. He was the winner of the Artproof Grant Estonia in 2014, won the first place of the F-stop Magazine in 2011, and was a finalist of the PFmagazine in documentary photo contest.
Juhan Kuus Documentary Photography Centre supports appreciation for and the development of documentary photography in Estonia, as well as the showcasing of Estonian documentary photos around the world.
Our mission is to bring together photographers and other interested people who use documentary photography to tell and experience stories that inspire, enrich, include and change lives.
We focus on topics that have a strong impact on humankind and develop the sphere of documentary photography. We believe that a good documentary photo can make people see what’s going on in society, help them understand it better, increase empathy, encourage cooperation, bridge the gap between differences, and motivate people to find solutions to challenges.
Docphoto – storyteller of life!