‘The Successors’ protects long-standing and vanishing cultures

  • By chagy5
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  • 2024-04-14
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‘The Successors’ protects long-standing and vanishing cultures

Exploring the depths of cultural inheritance and tradition, Asher Svidensky’s latest photography solo exhibition, “The Successors”, captures the essence of cultural preservation through the lens of young proteges across the globe. Asher Svindensky is a freelance photographer and filmmaker known for his storytelling artistry. The photographer is famous for “The Eagle Huntress” documentary, which tells a story of then 13-year-old Aisholpan from Bayan-Ulgii Province where Kazakh ethnic groups mostly reside. The main character trains to become the first female in twelve generations of her nomad family to become an eagle huntress, which has been forgotten for a while. The documentary did not only bring back the tradition which has been forgotten, it has gained recognition through a variety of publications on National Geographic, BBC, and more. Asher has also directed many short films for various INGOs, including UNICEF, and The Nature Conservancy, and has spoken on prestigious platforms including TEDx talks and Oxford Natural History Museum. 

The Successors is a photography project showcasing young individuals from diverse cultures, engaging deeply with their age-old traditions and skills, taught directly by their previous masters. This exhibition represents a decade-long journey beginning with the renowned Eagle Huntress, and extending to various countries where young successors embrace their heritage and skills with vigor and pride. With the Successors, a photographer aims to foster a global dialogue on cultural preservation, encouraging active participation in safeguarding disappearing cultures. The exhibition seeks to stimulate intergenerational conversations, serving as a bridge for cultural exchange and learning. 

“I have been a photographer since 2008 starting with street photography, and I served for three years as a military photographer, then commercial photography and what I am doing now, which is large scale photography projects like 'The Successors', and directing short films with NGOs. When I started traveling around the world, especially Asia, my first go-to was Mongolia. What I like about Mongolia is that there are not many accesses, and sources. However, the people here are very kind,” says Asher Svidensky. He then continued, “Honestly, what I would love people to take from this exhibition is divided into two categories. For the professional level, I want people to understand that photography is a mixed media of products. Pictures on the wall, I just really love each and every part of them, but they are at their best when combined with the stories behind them. On an ideal level, I started this project because of my father. He was my inspiration for going into storytelling. The reason why I took up photography is that when I was a kid, the only possession my father had when he escaped from the Russian Federation, was a photo album. I guess I wanted to have the pictures that I can show to my kids like my father. Something to take from this exhibition is the importance of transferring the culture and the tradition in a positive way”. 

The President of the Union of Mongolian Photographers, L.Jargalsaikhan highlighted, “The Successors is not just a photographic journey, it is a vibrant testament to the enduring spirit of cultural heritage, blending the past with the present. We’re so proud to partner with Asher Svidensky in sharing the stories of young successors with the Mongolian public”. 

Moreover, in relation to the exhibition, the photographer conducts masterclasses and engages in speaking events, sharing insights from his extensive travels and experiences in cultural photography. For example, on April 13, a behind-the-scenes session took place, and shared the unique stories from his journey to find exceptional successor stories worldwide. Also, a photography masterclass aimed at enriching the audience’s understanding of cultural narratives and visual storytelling will be organized on April 20. The exhibition will be on display until April 23 at the Red Ger Art Gallery. Therefore, don’t skip the opportunity to expand your understanding of photography, storytelling and intergenerational conversations.