Sasha Bezzubov: Republic of Dust
The Republic of Dust" is a series of landscapes and portraits of foreigners and locals who coexist in the threatened environment of the Republic of Gabon's rainforest region: a microcosm of global trade and its ruinous effects.
Bezzubov, known for his previous work addressing such subjects as global warming and natural disasters continues his investigation into the impact of humanity's interaction with the natural environment. His photo- graphs, shot with a large format view camera (8x10" and 5x7") are so sharp the dried soil caking the fern leaves on the Gabonese road seems to flake off onto the floor before ones very eyes.
Bezzubov's photographs capture the beauty of the landscape and the massive upheaval caused by the extraction industries (such as timber, rubber, manganese, among other national resourcesgatheredfromtheforestand the land) on the tropical forests in the Republic of Gabon, considered one of the worlds most precious ecosystems.
In Bezzubov's photographs one can see the rainforest is now crisscrossed by logging roads that cut deep into the interior. The dust created in the wake of passing trucks, which cart enormous trees to the port, covers everything in sight. The rainforest turns deep red as the trucks leave behind clouds of dust. This dust settles on plants, smothering them and transforming their natural greens with an industrial concoction of red glow.
In Bezzubov's Gabonese portraits an unlikely mix of locals and foreigners coexist in this forest, often with great tension. There are Gabonese villagers and indigenous Pygmies, migrant workers from neighboring countries, European technicians working in extracting industries, Chinese laborers, drug tourists, and a motley crew of conservationists, scientists, activists that come together in resource rich regions of the developing world.
Bezzubov is a two-time recipient of the Fulbright Scholarship Award. His work has been included in numerous solo and group exhibitions including Tucson Museum of Art; Museum Belvedere, The Netherlands; Herter Art Gallery, University of Massachusetts; Wavehill, New York; New Orleans Museum of Art; and Museum of Fine Arts, Tallahassee. Bezzubov's first monograph Wildfire, was published in 2009 by Nazraeli Press. His work is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of the City of New York and the Joy of Giving Something Foundation, among others. Bezzubov's work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Harper's, The Telegraph Magazine, Esquire, Newsweek, Art & Auction, and Details; and has received critical acclaim in The New Yorker, Freeze, The Village Voice, The Brooklyn Rail and Print. In 2012, The Sylvia Bongo Foundation invited Sasha Bezzubov to Gabon, Central Africa. "Republic of Dust" is a series of photographs that resulted from this experience. Bezzubov received a MFA in Photography from Yale University in 1997. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.