The word "Russia" probably brings a few geographic keywords to mind: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Siberia, etc. For some, it might even evoke "Volga River" and "Bering Sea." But it's doubtful that thoughts of Japan's Russian neighbor, Sakhalin Island, would come to mind. And that's why Michael Christopher Brown liked it.
The Chameleon Bar, a mostly young and liberal minded locals bar in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.
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Brown spent much of his childhood exploring obscure, remote places. Raised in rural Washington state, he eventually turned to extreme sports and photography. His fascination with the unknown and his willingness to explore have translated into stunning, award-winning photography, including a recent series called "Sakhalin," shot on the Russian island.
In an artist statement, Brown writes:
Photographed predominantly in the broken, rusted, skeletons of communities around Sakhalin Island, Russia, these images explore the wintry atmosphere of a place and its people, long scarred from the Soviet era and left behind in modern times.
Initially photographed in 2008 for Fortune magazine, the series is what made Brown a finalist for Burn magazine's Emerging Photographer Grant this year. It was featured at LOOK3 photo festival this past weekend and stood out as one of the more remarkable series. To view more of Brown's work, and the rest of this series, check out his Web site.