Sunday, January 13, 2013

Alexander Gronsky: The Edge Of The World

The changing seasons have long provided inspiration for artists since man began creating art. Winter, while being one of the more somber seasons, provides plenty of material for storytellers. The themes of death, rebirth, beginning and end all play into this season, and its easy to see why. Photographer and artist Alexander Gronsky captures what the edge of the world looks like in his project, "The Edge".

Alexander Gronsky is a professional photographer who has worked for different advertising agencies and publications. Over the last few years, he has devoted his photography to his personal projects, leaning towards documenting the unique landscape and people of his adoptive home of Russia.

In his "Mountains & Waters" project, Gronsky looks at booming Chinese cities and how the landscape has changed with urban development. In his "Less Than One" series, the photographer travels to the most desolate places in Russia where the population density is less than one person per square kilometer. In his "Pastoral", Gronsky looks at the intersection of the urban and rural, areas that fit neither concrete definition. For this work,  Gronsky won the 3rd Prize in the Daily Life category of the World Press Photo 2012, one of the many prizes he has accrued to his name over the last decade.

In his project entitled, "The Edge", Gronsky explored the concepts of boundaries in reality, presented in an abstract manner. The photographer captured different scenes all around Moscow city, exploring the meeting points between the urban and the wild, industrial and residential, and all other points of convergence. Similar to Daniel Kukla's Mirror Landscapes, Gronsky presents how diverse a landscape can be, this time with added element of people.

In addition to the subject matter in his photographs, Gronsky heightens the feeling of isolation through the use of the nature of winter. The photographer had previously photographed the area during the warmer months of the year, but shooting these landscapes in winter gives the scene a "blank canvas" look ready to be filled by the subjects of Moscow. In the same way as Marek Samojeden uses the snow as neutral space, Gronsky  only needs a few subjects to give color to his minimalist photo artworks.

Gronsky also presents a different boundary present in all photographs: the photographic frame itself. These images only exist within the edges of the photographic paper, creating another boundary between reality and abstract.

While Gronsky's artistic statement about his photographs might get overly philosophical, there's no denying that he's managed to captured a magical world in the white blanket of winter. His project is aptly entitled, "The Edge", but his images are more about intersections: industrial and rural, old year and new year, winter and spring, and so on. It's wonderful to see how even the seeming edge of the world, while being overwhelmingly muted, can still still be vibrant with urban life.

This is Alexander Gronsky's website, with more images of the edge of the world and his other projects there. His portfolio, Contact Sheet 166: Pastoral, can be purchased here. For another view of edge landscapes, check out Daniel Kukla's Mirror Landscapes. For a different take on winter, have a look at Marek Samojeden's winter time in Poland.

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