2018 / Editorial / Political

Max, 26 Republic of Congo

  • Photographer
    Justin Barton
  • Agency / Studio
    Justin Barton Photography

Since the 1960’s, Russia has taken recruits from countries in Africa including Angola, Congo and Mozambique to train them to fly helicopters. Now, despite ties with western nations and the war in Syria, Saudi Arabians and South Africans are joining them. Transplanted to icy plains from the merciless heat of their homelands, most arrive without speaking a word of Russian and have to endure physical and mental challenges. For a few, the opportunities appear more attractive than at home, but many are not volunteers and the Russian environment is renowned as tough, isolated and at times hostile.

My work focuses primarily on identity and heritage. Seeking a deeper understanding of history I examine objects and people in detail and use the reflection of today to glean unusual perspectives on the past. I use both still life and portrait genres for personal documentary work. This series was shot on Wista 8x10in - Kodak 160nc film. My influences include Simon Norfolk, Edmund Clarke, Charlie Crane, Roger Fenton and other large format film documentary photographers.