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“The High Land”
Nestled within Valaam Island and its surrounding islets, an ancient complex of churches and sketes stands as one of Russia’s largest male Orthodox monasteries. Tracing its roots to the 14th century, the Valaam Monastery has experienced cycles of prosperity, decline, and even total ruin.
In the 19th century, after a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, the abbot of the monastery endeavored to transform Valaam into a “Russian Jerusalem.” New structures, named after several Christian shrines, were built on the island, and a pilgrimage route was established.
THE HIGH LAND
Valaam: A Sanctuary in Microcosm
Today, the monastery is a model of self-sufficiency, relying extensively on its agricultural activities. It runs a farm, a bakery, a fishery, a beeyard, as well as meteorological and fire stations.
Despite its isolated location, the island draws tens of thousands of visitors—pilgrims and tourists alike—from around the globe. Home to over two hundred monks and novices who rarely venture beyond its shores, the island also houses long-time local residents who consider it their irreplaceable home.
This diverse population forms a unique ecosystem within the ostensibly closed monastic community, giving rise to a distinctive social climate and intricate human dynamics.
Eyeshot Magazine #11 | Open Call 23 Edition
The 11th issue of Eyeshot Magazine is an eco-sustainable, limited edition work of art, printed in Italy on premium paper. Our dedicated team of 4 invested 3,000 hours to successfully conclude the 2023 Open Call. This year’s theme, “The Human Being,” explores diverse human experiences through photography. With an impressive 15,000 submissions from over 100 countries, the issue showcases a global perspective on street and documentary photography.
Katerina Churbakova (b. 1993 in Murmansk, Russia) is a documentary photographer based in Cyprus. In 2021 she graduated from School of Modern Photography “Docdocdoc”. She mainly works on long-term documentary projects combined with extensive research.
Photography for her is a way to investigate the daily life and ideology of different groups and communities in the context of social changes. Her work involves exploring the issues of isolation, discrimination and trauma.
The road to this moment has been a compelling journey of dedication and effort. Our tight-knit, passionate team of four has poured over 3,000 hours into realizing Eyeshot Open Call 2023, laboring tirelessly seven days a week. This year’s theme, “The Human Being,” has offered us a lens to explore the complexity and diversity of human experiences. From the dynamic pulse of cityscapes to the serene moments in rural life; from unguarded moments to intricate human narratives, the competition has received an astonishing 15,000 entries from more than 100 countries. The resulting body of work has been nothing short of a testament to the depth of creativity and passion that exists in the world of photography.
Guiding us through the meticulous selection process was a panel of highly-regarded jurors, a constellation of experts and luminaries in the field: Trent Parke, F. Dilek Yurdakul, Mark Abramson, Isadora Kosofsky, Laylah Amatullah Barrayn, Kitra Cahana, Richard Koci Hernandez, Narelle Autio, Emin Özmen, and our very own Marco Savarese, the visionary behind Eyeshot.