22.10.04 07:46



Alexander Juce, a famous Russian photojournalist, has lived for a few years in Turkmenistan. A photo exposition arranged in the Moscow’s Central House of Painters was the result of his acquaintance with the country. Juce’s works attracted visitors’ attention, above all, by their colorfulness. As it turned out after taking a closer look at his works, it was not just due to professional photographer’s skills in the field of working with colors but also due to the “heroine” of his works, a bright country on the photographs.

The spirit of Turkmen life was so expressly depicted on the photographs that it could be conveyed not by an ordinary photo professional but a man that in truth fell in love with this country. Juce was amazingly scrupulous in putting on display almost all visible features of today’s Turkmenistan. About 50 displayed photographs revealed Turkmenistan and its citizens to Muscovites in their full national colors.

Photographs showed a refurbished, sublime and monumental city of Ashgabat – the face of Turkmenistan. Juce introduced Ashgabat to Moscovites, in the first place, by its strikingly beautiful fountains and crowded festive squares of the city. One of the most fascinating photographs of the night Ashgabat spangled with lights, with its palaces, squares and fountains against the background of dark mountains and bright pink sunset was shot from the height of flying bird.

A few works by Alexander Juce displayed at the exhibition were dedicated to the “chief architect” of the Ashgabat miracle – President Saparmurat Niyazov. But even these few photographs tell us what popularity enjoys the national leader in the society that has dramatically changed over the years of independence, how big is the contribution of the president to the state development that was a raw material appendix of the empire till recently.

The nature of Turkmenistan on photographs is a rare truth to the name of the exhibition. I think even local residents don’t know how many are there such gorgeous and indescribable by words places in the nature of Turkmenistan. There is a narrow gorge in the mountain with a green tree in the end of it, choppy white soil of the desert with mysterious traces and huge, reaching skies, sand dunes. It is amazing that a field with red poppies, crystal water in the lake and stony mountains can be caught in one photograph. A lonely bushy mountain stands in the borderless desert. A flock of Jeyrans is running across a hill. It seems it will take one his entire life to find so many unique landscapes. Turkmenistan obviously has plenty of these natural landscapes as it took Alexander Juce just several years to find them. It should be noted that through this series of scenery pictures the photographer conveys not only his own vision of strikingly beautiful sites of Turkmenistan. On one of the photographs a village boy gently hugs a neck of the camel that bowed before him against the background of the desert showing the way Turkmens treat their mother nature.

The national color of day-to-day life of Turkmen citizens did not go unnoticed by Juce’s camera. A photo painter shot Turkmens at rest, making a photograph of elderly men drinking tea under the old sycamore tree, and women at daily house work, showing ordinary house yards where they bake bread in Tamdyrs and cook palow in a huge pan ahead of upcoming holiday. and at hard work, catching carpet-weavers making, in words of Marko Polo, “the most subtle and light carpets in the world…”

Sketches from Turkmen life demonstrated at the exhibition are, undoubtedly, not the end of its full colors. In my opinion, these photographs are merely a general, yet precise, picture of the country that is much talked about. However, as visitors’ genuine interest in almost each of Alexander Juce’s photograph proved, Turkmenistan remains to a large extent an “unknown” country for them. And thanks to the photo master for he got us closer to Turkmenistan that he likes very much, the country that after visiting such a photo exposition one can fall in love with even by a photograph…


A journalist faculty student, the Moscow state university

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