Olga Michi’s project “The Vulnerable” is a story of cultural uniqueness of small (and disappearing) ethnic groups of our world. But even at first glance at the visual material one can see that this is far from a purely ethnographical project. Neither the choice of backgrounds used in portraits, nor the bright and saturated colors and hues of the prints, nor the selection of poses the subjects take for their portraits – nothing in these photos matches the strict scientific goals of an ethnographic photo shoot. It is difficult to think about these images stored away in an archival file – or placed into equally-sized cells of a statistics table. Something – at first untraceable but immediately felt – forces one to perceive these portraits with an irrational subjectivity that is clearly not characteristic of documentary procedure. This feeling alone is sufficient to start thinking about the actual reasons for this series of portraits taken by O. Michi – the portraits that are photographically accurate in their nature but at the same time clearly allowing the viewer to see deeper, to dive below the superficial details.
In January 2017 the Central House of Artists exhibition hall in Moscow hosted probably the most colorful event of the Russian capital. The festival was dedicated to the natural beauty of our country and was titled “Russia the Pristine" (“Pervozdannaya Rossiya”). Moscow hosted the festival for the fourth time; attending the events of the festival becomes a real family tradition for many people; the festival inspires creativity and motivates people to travel around Russia; it also helps us to think and reflect on the importance of preserving nature in its original form.
"Extreme photographer" is a project about the travels of Olga Michi, an extreme photographer. She travels to the most inaccessible corners of our planet. Each of these expeditions is the story of obtaining just one or very few unique frames. For the sake of taking these shots, Olga Michi had to approach the wild animals; often she found herself at an arm's length from her models. She swam with the crocodiles in the turbid waters of the Okavango river; she approached mountain gorillas in the rainforests of Central Africa and dived with the white whales under the ice of the polar White Sea.
As children they were carried away by adventures they read about in novels by Jules Verne, they dreamed afterwards of flying in a hot-air balloon across Africa. As children, they watched the Soviet adventure movie “Children of Captain Grant” (“Deti Kapitana Granta”) and felt as if they, along with the movie’s heroes in search for their missing father, were captured by the African tribes. They belong to that rare type of people whose childhood dreams have come true in adulthood – in real life.
It's hard to believe but there are still many places on Earth that remain untouched by civilization. Aboriginal villages, lost in the savannah and forests of Africa, the ancient Mayan cities in Guatemala – such locations elicit genuine interest from anyone hearing about them. But there are no well-traveled tourist routes; local governments often warn in advance about the dangers that such trips may involve. We have an opportunity to see this distant world as it is – thanks to the photos taken by Olga Michi. She is an amazing lady-photographer who sometimes in her pursuits of adventure takes such risks that neither Lara Croft nor Indiana Jones could have dreamed of.