For 175 years, documentary photography has been focused on capturing visual information and presenting it to viewers at a later point in time. In all cases the audience views the work after it is captured, without direct interaction with the subject.
LiveZEKE is breaking down this wall and will incorporate opportunities for the viewer to directly engage with the subject of the documentary through text chatting and direct live video interaction (similar to a group Skype session).
The long-range plans are to incorporate LiveZEKE directly into the SDN and ZEKE websites offering any photographer on SDN the tools to create LiveZEKE sessions with the subjects of their visual stories. The short-term plans are to schedule LiveZEKE sessions during exhbitions of photographs from feature articles that have already been published in ZEKE magazine.
LiveZEKE at Photoville
LiveZEKEing from Photoville with Aghajanyan family in Nagorno-Karabakh.
With LiveZEKE, documentary subjects now become active participants by engaging with audiences directly. Each session will offer live video conferencing with people from the South Caucasus who are featured in the exhibit and will be available for dialogue with members of the audience. Translation will be provided.
The exhibition will be based on “The Forgotten Caucasus,” a feature article in the spring 2016 edition of ZEKE magazine showcasing documentary photography from the countries and regions of the South Caucasus — Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Nagorno-Karabakh — by photographers Ara Oshagan, Daro Sulakauri and Jan Zychlinski.
LiveZEKE will allow festival attendees to learn more about the South Caucasus from both the traditional documentary components of photography and text, and from direct engagement with subjects of the documentary who live in the region.
Thursday, September 22
1:00 and 2:00 pm
LiveZEKE with Leila, a 14-year-old girl from Zugdidi, Georgia. Leila was featured on the cover of the Spring 2016 issue of ZEKE magazine. She escaped her home at age 13 to live with a boy she fell in love with on social media. Traveling from Apkhazia to Georgia, they crossed over the Enguri River which forms the border between the breakaway region of Abkhazia and the rest of Georgia. Leila, having no travel documents, had to swim across the river quietly at midnight, crossing to Georgia, bypassing Russian and Aphkhazian militants. Talk to Leila now to find out what is going on with her. Photographs and translation by Daro Sulakauri.
Friday, September 23
1:00 and 2:00 pm
LiveZEKE with Shota and Kolya Gurchiani from Etseri in the Svaneti Mountains in Georgia. They are refugees from the war between Georgia and Russia over Abkhazia in 1992-93 and now live in a former abandoned village high up in the mountains. Photographs by Jan Zychlinski. Technical support and translation by Nika Berulava.
Saturday, September 24 and Sunday, September 25
Both days at 1:00 and 2:00 pm
LiveZEKE with Edik Aghajanyan (husband), Aleona Poghosyan (wife), Tigran and Aris (sons), and Masha (daughter), an Armenian family from the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic where a brutal war was fought between 1992 and 1994. Aleona is a refugee from Baku, Azerbaijan, who fled the war and landed in Nagorno-Karabakh with little knowledge of Armenian. She is currently working at a hotel in Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh. Photographs and translation by Ara Oshagan.
Ara Oshagan’s work revolves around themes of identity, community and bearing witness. Since 1995, he has been recording the oral histories of survivors of the Armenian Genocide. For over eight years, Ara photographed extensively in Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia, working on Father Land, a book project with his father. Ara’s work is in the permanent collections of numerous museums in the US and Armenia. www.araoshagan.com
Daro Sulakauri was born in Tbilisi, Georgia. After obtaining a degree in cinematography from Tbilisi State University, Daro moved to New York to study at the International Center of Photography (ICP). Daro is now based in Georgia, where she documents social issues of the Caucasus. Her work has been published in Forbes, Mother Jones, Sunday Times, The New York Times Lens Blog, Saveur, The Economist, Vision and Bloomberg. www.darosulakauri.com
Jan Zychlinski was born in former East Germany. Since 2007, he has been a lecturer in Social Urban Development at the Berner University of Applied Science, with a focus on social photography. He has taken his humanitarian perspective around the world to document human experiences during crises and everyday life, including the fate and living conditions of refugees in the South Caucasus after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Mary Ellen Keough
555 Gallery: Susan and Ed Nalband
Printing and mounting of LiveZEKE photographs by
Digital Silver Imaging.
Click here to support LiveZEKE at Photoville!
Fully-developed version of ZEKE
Click here for a five-page PDF that demonstrates the web-based version of LiveZEKE. Page 5 of the PDF is most relevant in demonstrating LiveZEKE as it shows both text and video chatting. The final version of LiveZEKE would be a fully developed, multimedia website, optimized for desktop and mobile devices, and would present many stories that users can choose from to engage in LiveZEKE sessions.