MIKHAILOV, Boris. Case History.

(Zurich, Berlin and New York): Scalo, 1999.  First edition.  Octavo.  478 pages.  Known for harshly categorizing the post-soviet socium into “the rich and the homeless”, Mikhailov uses his camera to showcase stories of people whose lives have been touched by the collapse of The Soviet Union — the victims of the social oppression and devastating poverty. Unlike a history textbook, Mikhailov’s visual story is exposing and disturbing in its depiction of life of the homeless in Kharkov, Ukraine, his hometown. Absurd and horrifying, these images are a strong and moving representation of the decaying remains of a social structure on one hand, and a disoriented postmodernist vision on another.  “Case History” is a capricious combination of both a documentary and artful direction: Mikhailov admits that he paid his subjects, so-called “bomzhi” (Russian for “homeless”), to stage an element of voyeurism by directing them to shed their clothes. A good copy, pages 135-138 are unsown (publication flaw) and is laid-in loose, in a very good dustwrapper.


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