Homo Sovieticus.

Photographs by Carl De Keyzer.
Focus, Amsterdam, English, 1989. In Netherlands. Unpaged, 21 halftones, 75 duotones, 11¾x11¾".

In 1988 and 1989 Belgian photographer Carl De Keyzer made numerous visits to the Soviet Union, photographing throughout the country. Homo Sovieticus is the result. This handsome new monograph focuses on the Russian people, most often depicting them at play. De Keyzer's subjects include urban sunbathers milking Moscow's weak summer sun for all its worth, old men intent on oceanside chess games, uniformed school children on group outings, and vacationing Russian families. The photographs are delightful: De Keyzer's use of medium format (6x7), often in combination with fill flash, renders detail and tone beautifully. Beyond technical considerations, these are exciting images: while they ask hard questions about the relationship between the Soviet government and its citizens, they also successfully portray the love the Russian people have for their homeland and its culture.

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