iPhone Meets Hasselblad: Analog and Digital Unite in Ukraine

Anastasia Taylor-Lind
The above image shows a viewfinder video portrait of a man called Oleskiy by the barricades of Hrushevskoho street. Feb. 27, 2014 in Kiev, Ukraine. 

LightBox put together this post on Anastasia Taylor-Lind’s protester portraits before clashes between anti-government protesters and police in Kiev left over 70 people dead, and before the now ongoing crisis in Crimea. The anti-government demonstrations — which had focused on Maidan Nezalezhnosti, the Ukrainian name for Kiev’s Independence Square – began late last year when President Yanukovych backed away from a European trade and political deal in favor of closer ties with Russia.

Since our Feb. 6, 2014 interview with Taylor-Lind, the protest movement has overthrown President Yanukovych and the opposition has set up an interim government. During the unrest, Taylor-Lind stopped her iPhone portrait series and went on assignment for a German newspaper. She started the project again afterwards. And while the newer videos may look very similar to those that came before, “this time,” Taylor-Lind says, “Kiev was in mourning.”

These images look a bit like something you’d see on an early 20th-century mutoscope, but the videos featured in Views From My Belly Button — an ongoing Instagram project by photographer Anastasia Taylor-Lind — probably couldn’t be more timely. The video portraits were taken on the fringes of the Maidan anti-government protest camp in Kiev, and are the result of the photographer mounting an iPhone on her Hasselblad camera via the use of an elaborately constructed arm, and then filming what she sees through the viewfinder.

A viewfinder video portrait of Igor, 29,  from Lviv.
The above image shows a viewfinder video portrait of a man named Ivan.
The above image shows a viewfinder video portrait of a Maidan protester.

Most of the videos focus on anti-government protesters based in the Hrushevskoho Street area of Kiev. They are just short vignettes, and evolve as her series progresses.

“There was a lot of trial and error,” Taylor-Lind, whose assistant built the iPhone arm using parts of a Manfrotto tripod, tells TIME. “We’ve adapted it a few times as we figure out better ways to make it work.”

The above image shows a viewfinder video portrait of anti-government protesters singing the Ukranian national anthem

For Taylor-Lind, the series is not just an aspect of her principal photography work; it is a new form of work in itself.

“I asked questions like, how can I bring my audience with me?” she says. “I thought about what I could add to those conventional images, the so-called ‘real images’ that I make.”

Taylor-Lind’s is seen posing with a protestor in her makeshift Kiev studio.
Taylor-Lind’s iPhone is seen mounted to her camera. She uses a Bronica and a Hasselblad.

“I now realize the world looks quite different through the ground glass of my 6×6 cameras,” she adds. “I think social media is really exciting, and I am even more excited about discovering new ways that we can use it to enhance the stories we tell.”

Anastasia Taylor-Lind is a photographer with VII. See more videos from Views from my Belly Button here. Her book MAIDAN – Portraits from the Black Square is out now. Taylor-Lind is also working on a long-term documentary project called Negative Zero, about Europe’s declining populations.

Richard Conway is Reporter/Producer for TIME LightBox. Follow him on twitter @RichardJConway

Related Topics: , , ,

Latest Posts

New York, New York. United States.October 17th 2014.#Dysturb New York.

Guerrillas in the Streets: The Dysturb Photo Collective Comes to NYC

Dysturb, a collective of photographers, takes to New York City's streets to bring photojournalism directly to the crowd

Read More
CARNIVORE’S DILEMMA PERMITTED USE: This image may be downloaded or is otherwise provided at no charge for one-time use for coverage or promotion of National Geographic magazine dated November 2014 and exclusively in conjunction thereof. No copying, distribution or archiving permitted. Sublicensing, sale or resale is prohibited. REQUIRED CREDIT AND CAPTION: All image uses must bear the copyright notice and be properly credited to the relevant photographer, as shown in this metadata, and must be accompanied by a caption, which makes reference to NGM. Any uses in which the image appears without proper copyright notice, photographer credit and a caption referencing NGM are subject to paid licensing. Mandatory usage requirements:1. Include mandatory photo credit with each image © Brian Finke/National Geographic2. Show the November cover of National Geographic somewhere in the post (credit: National Geographic) unless using only one image - you do not have to show the cover3. Provide a prominent link to: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/foodfeatures/meat/4. Mention that the images are from "the November issue of National Geographic magazine”Beef is big in Texas. Last year in the state, ten times as many calves were born, 3.85 million, as human babies.At the Big Texan in Amarillo—which offers free rides in a longhorn limo—you get your 72-ounce steak for free ifyou finish it in under an hour, along with the shrimp cocktail, the baked potato, the salad, and the roll.

Photojournalism Daily: Oct. 20, 2014

Courtesy Ginger Miller

#TIMEvets: Share Your Stories and Photos of Inspiring Veterans


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 17,500 other followers