Siberia is shrouded in mystery as is the origin of its name. It is a vast territory where political prisoners and scientists, who receive Nobel Prizes for their discoveries, live in extreme conditions. It is an expanse of land where turbulent history meets breathtaking beauty of nature, fragility of civilization, and people who steer clear of the ones and zeros of the online world. Martin Wágner, a documentary photographer who does not measure the stages in his life with calendars or schools, but with journeys, has visited Siberia countless times and taken more than forty thousand photos on his expeditions. Now he is building up a venturesome collection of the best shots, aiming to uncover not only the vertiginous secret of this piece of our planet, but also that of bare human existence.
After “Families” by Jana Dobrovský, this is the second title released in 400 ASA edition in collaboration with publisher Paseka.
Martin Wágner (b. 1980) is a photojournalist and documentary photographer. He comes from a family of sign painters, and spent his childhood in a part of Prague called Strašnice. After elementary school, he attended the Prague School of Photography and also a course in photography at a vocational school. In 2013, he graduated with a Master’s degree from the Institute of Creative Photography at Silesian University in Opava.
In his work, he is often concerned with the countries of the former Soviet Union. He first visited Subcarpathian Ruthenia in 1994, and has, since 1998, regularly visited Russia and Ukraine. He has photographed at sites of former Soviet gulags in Vorkuta, in several communities of Siberian Old Believers, volcanologists on the Kuril Islands, the Trans-Siberian Railway, the remote Khlebozavod bakery, a salt mine, gold mining in Partizansk, oil wells in the Far East, Siberian reindeer herders, whalers on the Chukchi Peninsula, Lake Baikal frozen over, duck hunting on the Angara River. In recent years, he has gradually been working less in the east and is focusing more on Czech landscape with traces of ancient settlement. He has frequently won awards in the Czech Press Photo competition. He established a graphic design studio specialized in the scanning, pre-press preparation, and professional printing of photographs for exhibition.