IN WAR WITH SHADOWS/Psychological Impact
Rodry Kamehzari is a freelance documentary photographer based in Eastern Europe.
In the last four years he has focused on the economy and political changes in countries such as Russia and Belarus. The aim is to create a long-term photographic documentation and to reflect the transformation of lives in the post-Soviet era in this part of the world, as well as to illustrate the impact of authoritarian regimes on societies as a whole at the beginning of the 21st century.
RODRY KAMEHZARI: Documentary Photographer I @k.rodry
"IN WAR WITH SHADOWS"
“In War With Shadows” is a photography platform which allows the photographer to criticize those who hold power and have effect on people,
regardless of how big or small their role is. It is an intense study of the growing lower class in Eastern Europe, including countries such as Russia and Belarus, as well as a close observation of the psychological impact on civilians resulting from poverty and suppression. This photo project also touches the shoulders of policymakers in the aforementioned region, as an attempt to reiterate their decisions louder, reflect upon the results of their resolutions from a wider viewpoint, but stay hesitant towards their promises and actions. Simultaneously, it is a glimpse onto the inglorious son of Europe, Russia, as the photographer likes to put it.
The photographer has dedicated his last four years to this project, taking photographs of the gradually failing Belarusian and Russian economies, and their consequences: growing poverty, social dissatisfaction and disparity. As the project moved on, social frustration and the accompanying immigration issue (the so- called brain drain phenomenon) also appeared, as most young adults throughout the region came to understand that they cannot hope for change anymore by the sheer act of voting. Another staggering discovery, presenting the photographer a
different face of Eastern Europe, was that a considerable portion of society still believe in the Soviet political perspective, hence blame the West for any sort of foreign or domestic error – a courtesy of the well-organized Kremlin propaganda.
Withal, the photographer is well aware of traditional usage of the iron fist when it comes to ruling a country in eastern Europe and the indifference towards individual rights and human dignity among political elites. Thus, the photographer cannot help but feel doubt and pessimism about current events while he must believe in change too, for he could not possibly have a peaceful night of sleep otherwise.
One may say he has total control of his destiny, he has his own chances to take, decisions to make and rightsto shape his historical dreams... But I am afraid it is not even close to the ironic world that majority of Russian-Belarusian experiencing nowadays. The recent decision by
Vladimir Putin and his counterpart Alexander Lukashenko to drive politically, socially and economically their countries into a so-called Chinese model,spread panic among middle class, especially young generation and resulted to a large migration to democratic neighboring countries and the west.
-A lonely bush survived the harsh winter in a field fifty kilometer north east of Minsk, Belarus 2021.
The decision ‘to leave or to stay’ has probably a history equal to Mankind himself, however ithas never been such crucial like today for majority of those who live under authoritarian regimes such as Belarus and Russia. It seems nowadays, it turned to an existentialistic question
for citizen of these countries.
-Marina on her last days in Belarus, Begoml 2021.
Unlike many countries all around the globe, in Russia, perhaps the hardest topic to discuss is Politic. A sort of fear and hatred pilled with a historical frustration towards their own inability to make socio-political changes, created an absolute dark image of involvement into politics.
Here Ekaterina told me that from her point of view, “regardless of all goods and evils in the country, it is us, ordinary people, who always must pay and suffer for all consequences”. This kind of prefix interpretation of politic or involvement into politics is vastly seen throughout of
this colossal country.
-I and Ekaterina at central bus station in east Moscow, Russia 2019.
Elderlies are the hidden victims of inequality and poverty throughout of Russia. The lack of a
sophisticated social health care and the absence of a general program for mental care has had
a devastating impact on elderlies throughout the country. A research by BMC Public Health
published in 2017 shows the suicide commitment among elderlies in Russia is one of the
highest ratiosin recent world, especially among those who are labeled as lower class and often
located in small towns and villages.
-An elderly in a mental clinic, Vladimir, Russia 2018.
Under an authoritarian system, the society could be seen active, creative and alive, however, the sensor machine invisibly developing inside every member of that society by creating a self- deception puzzle. Perhaps one of the first groups who are challenged by this ruthless machine are artists.
-Actress during an early morning rehearsal, Moscow, Russia 2021.
Despite all the true accusations to Kremlin for its corrupted establishment, current political miscalculations, constant war with its citizens and historical indifferences towards human rights and human dignity, yet Russian society have a long tradition of blaming others for their
failures, protecting the dictators by their hidden nationalistic persona as well as possessing the stamina to endure all the pains in the world in order to (unconsciously) keep the Iron fist in Kremlin. This is the psycho of Russian society and It works perfectly, even against one another.
-A patient in psycho clinic, Moscow, Russia 2019.
FULL GALLERY - Click on the images
To learn more
Brain drain, also known as talent drain, occurs when there is a massive emigration of highly educated and professional people to other countries in search of opportunities. This is mainly for economic and professional reasons.
This flight of human capital to other countries causes a loss of competitiveness of the country that suffers it. It usually occurs in economic crises or in sectors where there is no growth in the country.