White nights from the Baltic States to Russia
In latitudes beyond the polar circles, a particular phenomenon occurs at the time of the summer solstice: the White Nights. The peoples of the north have always, so it would seem, celebrated the return of light after months of total obscurity. Today we are seeing a renewal of these pagan rites all around the polar circle, particularly in the Baltic countries and Russia. Claudine Doury invites us to follow the preparations and take part in two of these festivals. Firstly, Ivan Kupala Night, which is celebrated in the Slavic world at the beginning of July each year. It is a pagan festival that celebrates a fertility rite supposed to bring a good harvest and which is accompanied by witchcraft, animism and erotic games.
Another White Nights celebration takes place mid-June in Saint-Petersburg: Scarlet Sails. This festival celebrates the end of the school year and brings together thousands of youngsters each year along the Neva River.
Claudine Doury was born in Blois and lives in Paris. She works on metamorphoses and change. Her work in Russia and Central Asia bears witness to this as does her work on adolescence. She received the Leica Oscar Barnack award in 1999 as well as second prize in the World Press Photo awards (1999), the Paris Match award in 2004, and in the same year the Niepce award for her work as a whole.
Claudine Doury has published Peuples de Sibérie (Editions du Seuil, 1999), Artek, un été en Crimée (Editions de la Martinière, 2004), Loulan Beauty (Editions du Chêne, 2007) and Sasha (Editions Le Caillou Bleu, 2011).
Her work has given rise to numerous monographic exhibitions in France and in Europe, including Peuples de Sibérie at La Villette in Paris in 1999, Loulan Beauty at the Rencontres d’Arles festival in 2006, Loulan Beauty at the Breda festival (Holland) in 2008 and at the Pavillon Carré de Baudouin in Paris in 2011 (Claudine Doury, Photographs 1999-2010).
Her last series, Sasha, has just been shown at the Galerie Particulière in Paris.
Her photos can be found in private and public collections including in the French FNAC (Fondation National d’Art Contemporain).
She is represented by the Camera Obscura galleries and the Galerie Particulière in Paris and is a member of the VU agency.