"These bleak images from Siberia, which I once gave up as lost due to an accident in development, have been brought back to life through careful scanning. By putting contradictory feelings side by side, I tried to recreate the rudeness and the fullness of this landscape. This story is a very personal, intimate and human portrait of these men and women. (...)
I went to Siberia without a camera. I bought it there. I was eighteen. Before being there, I never photographed. After shooting these images, I did not photograph again for more than ten years.
For my first experience, I was assistant director on a long-term documentary film project shot in Russia. After few months of traveling all over the country, we landed in Siberia. The film was hard to make because of the weather conditions, and I started exploring the landscape by myself.
I am here in this unreal set, on the north part of the polar circle and practically no light; it’s the middle of the winter, the coldest time ever. No one strolls for pleasure. Excursions are limited to the necessary. A few furtive silhouettes stirred in the dim light around the wind-swept encampments half-buried in snow.
What did I shoot? I don’t even remember. I was not a photographer and survival took all my attention. These frames now appear to me to hold a deep intensity. Is it the reminiscing to that long-ago time when photographing was for me a totally instinctive and free act?
A few weeks later, we went back to Moscow and I started to process the film… My lack of experience and the absence of notice on the film, made the development very random. Half of my films were blank, the other half almost translucent. I decided to store the negatives. I left photography. Right after, I went back to Paris and start working as an assistant and then a cinematographer on feature length films for ten years.
It’s only after coming in New York to study photography at the International Center of Photography (ICP) in 2006 that I decided to look at the negatives again.
The curiosity and the new technology help me to discover what was behind. Very quickly, the images from Siberia kept my attention and I realized how they were important for me. They signify the beginning of my photographic endeavor and that first step onto which I could build.
A random chemical process, an unconsciousness of the image, and a lot of chance came together to create a series that is at once constructed and magical, consistent and surreal. To my now professional eye, these images of Siberia resonate. Diving back into this work from the past, I am rediscovering a part of my innocence. While structuring these images I have discovered unexpected meaning." (© Emile Hyperion DUBUISSON)
"This is a strange, poetic and moving series of photographs, taken in Siberia in the early 1990s, but only now rediscovered and published. The book is a beautiful sequence of images of life at sub-zero temperatures, given an additional sense of timelessness and distance by the scratched, damaged surfaces of many of the prints made from 20-year-old negatives. Together, the work itself, the production of the book (the first by this small independent publisher), and the text by Boris Mikhailov make for a simple, understated classic." (© Simon Baker, curator of photography and international art at Tate)
About the photographer, Emile Hyperion DUBUISSON:
French photographer Emile Hyperion DUBUISSON was born in Paris. He attended the International Center of Photography (ICP) in 2007, furthering his knowledge of photography.
Prior to that he studied cinema at Universite Paris 8 in France. His work reflects disciplines of both fields. DUBUISSON is currently working as cinematographer on a feature length film
- Linen bound HC (no dust jacket, as issued), 21 x 26 x 2 cm., 91 pp., 46 b/w ills., text language: English. Ltd. ed. to 600 copies