Discover the contemporary artists re-shaping the image of the New East.
Lola Paprocka, Poland/UK
Lola Paprocka is a self-taught photographer with a practice centering on documentary imagery. She focuses on creating work with sentimental narratives that are authentic and honest in their representation of each subject, while still retaining her clean and unfussy aesthetic. 
Many of Lola’s projects focus on adolescence and the interactions of friendship groups among youths, especially those from marginalised communities and subcultures. Her most recent book, Studio Portraits (2020), created in collaboration with Pani Paul and shot over a five-year period, features a diverse group of youths bound together by their use of Mile End Skate Park.
Lola’s work has been exhibited worldwide, including in galleries in London, Melbourne, New York, Warsaw, and Paris.Lola is also a curator, founder, and creative director of  Palm* Studios, a London-based publisher and online platform focusing on photography.
Palm* Studios showcases artists and photographers through creative projects, weekly online features, exhibitions, events, and book launches. Lola curates and edits each event and project, and has so far published more than 15 books with artists including Molly Matalon, Joachim Mueller Ruchholtz, Vitorria Gerardi, Jacob Lillis, and Renato D’Agostin, and writers such as David Campany, Lucy Kumara Moore, Chelsea Hodson, Shelley Jones and William Barnes.
Horatiu Sovaiala, Romania
Horațiu Șovăială is a photographer and filmmaker born in Romania. He later studied at the National University of Arts in Bucharest majoring in contemporary photography and video art. 
Horațiu is interested in the visual representation of recent history and his work seeks to challenge the cultural divide between Eastern and Western Europe. 
As a photographer, he draws inspiration from various archives of historical and contemporary imagery and, using a suggestive visual grammar, creates a nuanced interpretation of an era in flux. Sometimes, his images are imagined and carefully staged. Other times, they feel real, factual, and experienced, hinting at subtle slices of meaning in everyday observations.
Hassan Kurbanbaev, Uzbekistan
Hassan Kurbanbaev (b. 1982, Tashkent) is an independent photographer who lives and works in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
In his practice, Hassan studies questions of representation and issues of cultural identity within an abstract system of state ideology. He also seeks to express his own voice in the context of Central Asian contemporary art and acquaint an international audience with his country. 
For several years, Hassan has travelled around Uzbekistan shooting urban and rural landscapes and portraits of local communities, which he includes in his “Untitled (Portrait of Uzbekistan)” series. His other series include Tashkent.Youth (2016 -2017) and “Logomania: Owning the World at Half Price” (2019-2020).
Hassan’s work has been exhibited in various exhibitions, including Noorderlicht Photography Festival in Groningen, The Netherlands, Photo Vogue Festival in Milan, Italia and Fashion Space Gallery in London, UK. In 2020, his first solo exhibition, Homework, was held at Tashkent’s independent 139 Documentary Center.
András Zoltai, Hungary
András was born in southeast Hungary (1990). He is a freelance documentary photographer currently based in Budapest. He graduated in marketing at Budapest Business University before studying photojournalism at the Academy of the National Association of Hungarian Journalists.
András’ curiosity, travels and openness lay the foundation for his world of photography. He seeks to get personally involved in his subjects. He focuses on human identity, social and environmental topics, and strongly believes in interpreting his own human experience through photography. András is a self–made artist whose approach combines journalistic and conceptual practices. He works on various commercial and editorial assignments.
In 2019, Andeas was awarded first prize in the Hungarian Press Photo Competition with his series photographed in Armenia, and has been selected for several masterclasses in recent years. 
He has also won prestigious national and international scholarships for his ongoing work on climate change in India, in which he examines the environmental problems of the Brahmaputra River. He is currently working on the continuation of this story and has just started photographing the same relationship between humans and nature in his homeland. He is a second-time recipient of the József Pécsi Photography Grant and talent of FUTURES platform.
George Nebieridze, Georgia, based in Berlin
George Nebieridze, first and foremost, is a student of human behaviorism. He roams thecrepuscular evening and nighttime landscape, selecting precise indicators of our humanexperience and our human moment. His eye is sharp and attenuated to the details thatseparate and confirm our secret rituals and identities that index our moment in the chaos of the 21st century. 
Perhaps we could imagine his efforts as that of a kinder latter-day George Grosz infatuated equally with intimacy and interiors, but without Grosz’s raging political and social criticisms and post-war fits of despair. Instead, Nebieridze embraces society and its fluctuating carousel of emotions, befitted with an incautious tenderness and particular empathy. He is an observer and not a critic of lives spent in a constant celebration of the margins. 
Nebieridze’s images are colorful and ebullient. Though his focus is deliberate in assessing the human condition, his efforts are not limited to youth culture in club nights in Berlin or his native Tbilisi, Georgia. His environmental and gem-like images of urban settings and architecture suggest an equal desire to confront the landscape as well as the human tapestry that navigates it in all of its changing manifestations. In his ability to document these aspects of our contemporary moment, and culture at large, Nebieridze solidifies his position as an avant-instrument of the people and our times, his eye deftly recording and confirming our very existence.
Daria Svertilova, Ukraine
Born in 1996 and raised in Odesa, Ukraine, Daria is currently based between Kyiv, Odesa, and Paris, where she is finishing her Master’s at École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs. Daria’s work is devoted to depicting modern-day Ukraine: she explores connections between past and present, focusing mainly on the young generation of Ukrainians and the cultural context in which they live. 
In 2022, Daria became a finalist for the Palm* Photo Prize.
Patrik Wallner, Germany
Born in West Germany to a Hungarian family in 1987, skateboard filmmaker and artist Patrik Wallner has focused much of his career on storytelling as well as dissecting the convoluted nations within Eurasia and Africa. Through his visual traveling documentaries, he has captured life within North Korea multiple times, travelled across Central Asia, and produced and directed pieces along the Trans-Siberian, Madagascar, Yemen, Myanmar, and Iran, to name but a few.
Rena Effendi, Azerbaijan
Rena Effendi is an award-winning documentary photographer and author of two monographs: “Pipe Dreams: A Chronicle of Lives along the Pipeline” and “Liquid Land”. Her photography has been described as having a deep sense of empathy with a quiet celebration of the strength of the human spirit. 
Rena is the laureate of the Prince Claus Fund award and has been shortlisted for the prestigious Prix Pictet award in Photography and Sustainability. She has spoken at the World Economic Forum in Davos twice and is a member of its cultural leadership network.
Rena’s work has been exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Saatchi Gallery, Istanbul Modern, Venice Biennial, and NYC MOMA. She is a frequent contributor to National Geographic and Monocle magazine and has worked on commissions for the New Yorker, Time, New York Times Magazine, The Sunday Times, and many others.
Michał Sierakowski, Poland
Michał Sierakowski is a director and photographer living and working in Warsaw, Poland. He is a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań, and uses his background in documentary photography to craft beautiful images that are both grounded in reality and tell a larger story.
Shantanu Starick, Australia and Germany
Shantanu Starick is a visual artist based in Dublin, Ireland.
Shantanu Starick initially trained as an architect and was mentored by Timothy Hill of Donovan Hill Architects. This experience deeply informed his practice and he has since turned his education and eye to photography to better understand human culture and its connection to the built environment. With much of his work defined by travel, Starick’s work explores how human cultures are impacted by architecture, landscape and design, posing questions about the psychology of space and our intricate relationships with these environments. Today, his work traverses the disciplines of architecture, design and travel.
Between 2012 and 2015, Starick successfully traveled to all seven continents trading his photography services for life’s basic necessities. This project culminated into the Pixel Trade, a work that reintroduced and questioned the bartering system in day-to-day life. Starick has published photography books including New Metonyms; Bosnia & Herzegovina which surveyed the contemporary metonymy of Bosnia’ post-war image. He has been a guest speaker at Tedx Brisbane and the 99U conference in New York City.
Starick is currently based in Dublin, Ireland, where he continues to work and research his expanding artistic practice including woodworking and design, as a continuity of his architectural curiosity.
Dimitar Karanikolov, Bulgaria
Dimitar Karanikolov is a Bulgarian architect with a passion for travel and aerial photography. 
In recent years, he has traveled on specialized photo expeditions around the world, capturing authentic environments,  portraits, and unusual perspectives with his drone. 
Dimitar’s work has been featured in National Geographic, Lonely Planet, Fubiz, Designboom and PetaPixel.
In 2019, he won an International Photo Award in the Travel Photography category. In 2020, he was named Aerial Photographer of the Year in the Fine Art category.
Kamila Rustambekova, Uzbekistan
Kamila Rustambekova is a documentary photographer and emerging director based in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Her work focuses on the complexities of modern Uzbek society, exploring the working and living conditions of local communities, as well as the boundaries of self-expression and societal taboos faced by youth people. Kamila is currently working on two ongoing projects: Paris which delves into the lives of seasonal farmers in the Farish region, and Jannat a critical examination of Uzbekistan's long-standing cotton-picking industry, a colonial endeavor that has persisted for over a century. By highlighting these issues in her work, Kamila aims to provide a clearer understanding of contemporary Uzbekistan and give voice to those who often go unheard.
Anisa Sabiri, Tajikistan
Anisa Sabiri is a London-based writer and director from Tajikistan. Previously, she worked as a tour guide in the Pamir mountains while building her profile as a poet, PEN congress speaker, cultural activist and photographer. She later started work on her two films, The Crying of Tanbur (2018) and Rhythms of Lost Time (2021), which have collectively been screened at some 60 international film festivals and institutions.
Michal Siarek, Poland
Michal Siarek is a documentary photographer and a student at the cinematography department at PWSFTviT in Lodz, Poland. He previously focused his work on the Balkan Peninsula, and spent three years on his debut photo series, Alexander: a visual essay focused on myths, identity and nationalism in North Macedonia.
Triin Kerge, Estonia
Triin Kerge is an artist exploring the ever lasting themes of home and belonging through photography and video. She studied Documentary Photography (BA) at the University of Newport in Wales and the Contemporary Art (MA) at the Estonian Academy of Arts. In 2020, Kerge won the Estonian Art Academy’s Young Artist Award.
Andrea Kalinová and Peter Kuzmin
Slovakia boasts a rich array of mineral springs. By the end of the 19th century, the country was already home to more than 100 spas, all of which were later nationalised by Slovakia’s socialist-era healthcare system.
In their series Hot Modern, photographers Andrea Kalinová and Peter Kuzmin sought to capture the legacy of communist-approved spas, working alongside architect Martin Zaiček.
Many are still in operation, although standard hotel-style services have now replaced state-sponsored workers’ packages.
Ieva Raudsepa
Ieva Raudsepa’s ongoing project Bloom focuses on the first generation born and raised in Latvia after the country regained its independence in 1991. Combining idyllic landscapes with frank, clear portraiture, Bloom is a snapshot of youth, and also a study of the narrative of Latvian national identity.
Raudsepa revisits the cultural references and visual tropes which appeared during the first period of independence, from 1918 to 1940, applying them to the current image of Latvian identity. Currently based in Los Angeles, Raudsepa examines both the sense of attachment and anxiety which can come with belonging to a particular nation.
Children of the Behind Blue Eyes project
Behind Blue Eyes is a grassroots art project that empowers children directly affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 
The charity visits young people living on the frontline and in recently de-occupied villages. The team gives each child a disposable camera and a week to capture their lives on film. In the process, they hope to reach out to children facing the trauma of war, protecting their unique power of imagination and ability to dream. 
Behind Blue Eyes is now planning to work with families across the entire frontline: collecting a historic footprint of the war in Ukraine, as seen by the eyes of the future.

Text contributors

Yelena Moskovich (Ukraine) / Aleks Eror (Serbia) / Joanna Kozlowska (Poland) / Paula Erizanu (Moldova) / Din Havolli (Kosovo)


Soundtrack composed by Anushka Chkheidze (Georgia)