The horizon is calling
Simon Crofts

Dec. 20, 2014 – Feb. 22, 2015 Deze tentoonstelling is afgelopen
Teenage shelter
St Petersburg, 2010
‘The horizon is calling...' is an exhibition by the Scottish photographer Simon Crofts, who lived in Russia for seven years in the 1990s when the country was transforming into capitalism. The Russian word ‘toska', which means a melancholy yearning, is central to the exhibition.

Crofts' photographs depict hopelessness, expectation and a yearning for some undefined and unattainable utopian future. Set against a backdrop of undefined landscapes, friendship, chance and waiting for the first glimpse of a new life on the horizon play an important role in his work.

The land of endless expectations

Simon Crofts appears to want to soak up everything about Russian life and to plumb the depths of its culture. The images in ‘The horizon is calling...' were taken during his many trips to Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, an area that always seems to be waiting in anticipation of things to come. The photographs illustrate the history and mutual relationships between people: hopeful, resigned or disappointed about undefined expectations that never become reality. Occasionally, the yearning is portrayed explicitly, such as when children are posing on a bed against a wall bearing a life-size drawing of a television. Crofts depicts a proud woman with her four children in a room jam-packed with a jumble of beds, a piano and a computer, and a Lost Kingdom computer game under a sofa bed. At the same time, her pride seems out of tune with the realisation that things always seem to turn out differently than expected.

To Moscow by bike

Even from being a very young child, Simon Crofts devoured Russian music and literature. He used the time he spent commuting to work and college on the London Underground learning Russian. The collapse of the Soviet Union was an important time for him, and in 1993 he decided to cycle to Moscow from Hamburg, taking with him little more than the clothes on his back. As he cycled, he discovered the country and became acquainted with its people. Crofts ended up staying there for seven years, working as a lawyer during the first privatisations. The transformation process was rapid and had a visible effect on society. It was this that motivated Simon Crofts to create a photographic record of the daily lives of Russia's people during a historic period of upheaval.

04 - Simon Crofts - Adopted girl with her cousins.jpg
Adopted girl with her cousins, Ukraine 2009


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02- Simon Crofts - Single mother with sons.jpg
Single mother with sons, St Petersburg 2010
03 - Simon Crofts - Landscape.jpg
Landscape, Kherson, Ukraine 2013