Au revoir, Jersey!

    September 28, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    The six months of my Archisle photo residency flew so fast. I could hardly keep up with recording the change of seasons from my cottage window. The wind is changing again and it’s time for me to say good bye to Jersey, to this beautiful island and its wonderful people. Au revoir et merci!

    PS. If you would like to keep in touch, here’s how: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

    Russian flavors for Jersey friends

    September 25, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    Pelmeni (or Russian ravioli or Russain dumplings) is a signature dish and each family throughout Russia (all regions included) has its own secret for making these juicy pieces of meat stuffing wrapped in a thin dough special. They are served boiled and generously buttered (Jersey butter, of course!) steaming hot accompanied by a variety of sauces (garlic and vinegar, or with sour cream). This is how mine turned out when I made them for my Jersey friends and colleagues. A perfect dish to share.

    Archisle Photobus at La Bordée d’Branchage

    September 23, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    Archisle is teaming up with Branchage Film Festival for a night of fun. Karen, Gareth and faithfully yours will be running a photobus service which is a photo booth on wheels. Come and have your portrait taken as you dance during La Bordée d’Bronchage. Take home an instant portrait with a ‘vignette à l’ancienne.’

    Photobus, Coronation Park
    Saturday 27th September 8pm – 12am
    More here

    Artist Talk at the Société Jersiaise

    September 22, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    I will be giving a talk about my photographic practice and about Fairyland, the Jersey photo project, in particular at the Société Jersiaise on September 23, 2014 at 7.30pm. I look forward to this wonderful opportunity. If you haven’t joined the Société yet, think about it now. See you there!

    Russian colours of Archisle

    September 21, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    With Michelle Sank, Archisle International Photographer in Residence 2013. Photo by Ben Bailey @ Guernsey Photo Festival 2014.

    Guernsey Photo Festival: Good bye!

    September 21, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    Good bye Guernsey Photo Festival! I had a fantastic time.

    Guernsey Photo Festival: From an idea to a projection screen

    September 21, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    As we’re wrapping our eventful visit to Guernsey Photo Festival I’d like to say that it was wonderful to see both Jersey’s and Guernsey’s students’ happy faces yesterday evening during The Night of Photography projection. It looked like it was important for them to see their photos projected on seven giant festival screens for the first time in an exhibition space. Much effort was invested in this project over the past months leading to this event. I was involved in this project and it was an important moment for me too.

    The road from an idea to an exhibition or in this case a public projection is long and winding. It goes through the doubts about the subject matter, sometimes through technical difficulties, editing, sequencing and many other creative considerations. So by the time that initial idea takes its final form it has gone through a serious thought process. That is why it is very rewarding to see it gaining its own audience for the first time. It might seem like a trivial experience, but it certainly it doesn’t feel like one. New things may spring from this experience. New edits or adjustments to the exisiting work or ideas for subsequent projects. But before it happpens I hope the students will pause to enjoy and to savor this delicous moment. It is the instant to remember.

    Archisle Team at the Guernsey Photo Festival

    September 19, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    With Karen Biddlecomb and Gareth Syvret @ Guernsey Photo Festival 2014.

    Guernsey Photo Festival

    September 16, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    This week I’m in Guernsey invited to contribute to the educational programme of the Guernsey Photo Festival. I’m looking forward to this opportunity to visit another Channel Island, meet new people and see the numerous photo exhibitions which constitute the rich programme of the festival!

    Fairyland: The curtain

    September 13, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    This evening we took down Fairyland, the photo exhibition. I’d like to use this opportunity and thank everyone who was instrumental in making this big project happen.

    – My immediate “family” at the Société Jersiaise (Neil for a warm welcome to the Société and the kind support during these six months, Karen for helping with the endless myriad of project chores, Anna and Bronwyn at the library for helping with research, Pauline for the honey, administrative and moral support in forms of chat and occasional good laughs, Margaret and then recently Jonathan).
    – Rod McLoughlin for the support and the inspiring curiosity from day 1.
    – Tom Dingle for officially opening the exhibition.
    – Martin Toft for opening his amazing photobook library and for being such a great guy to be around.
    – Peter Bisson for allowing me to use his father’s quote from “Jersey: Our Island”.
    – The Vibert family and Mr. John Barrett for opening their family albums.
    – Linda at the Jersey Archive for a wonderful tour of the archive and for letting us use their material.
    – Val at the Jersey Museum & Art Gallery for supplying the frames and helping me with contacts.
    – Jan at the Jersey Evening Post for helping with research and for opening the negative store for me.
    – Mark Mitchell for helping us to deal with the video technology.
    – Sara Palmer at BBC radio Jersey for having me twice on air talking about it.
    – Gill Kay at JEP for writing two comprehensive pieces about us.

    I am especially thankful to all sitters who accepted my invitation to be photographed (John Nettles, Jess, David Gainsborough-Roberts, Ben, Nikki, Derek Warwick, Bob Le Sueur, Vic Tanner Davy, Jordan, Sally Minty-Gravett, Will and Melody, and Marek).

    A big thank you to guys at Spectrum Photographic (Hazel and Andy in particular) for helping us meet the deadline and making my prints look so good. Michael at Victoria Art Gallery for beautifully framing the exhibition. Staff at the Jersey Arts Centre (Daniel, Allie, Val, Steve in particular) for helping with the exhibition organisation.

    I was fortunate to have Gareth Syvret as a project leader and curator of Fairyland. From the very beginning even before I landed in Jersey in April Gareth was giving me leads in terms of background material, feedback and research which turned out to be relevant and which found their places in my project. It was trully a very exciting and fruitful cooperation an artist hopes to have with a curator. Fairyland is over, longlive Fairyland.

    Fairyland: A 4-min guided tour

    September 12, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    Last chance to see Fairyland exhibited at the Jersey Arts Centre. The exhibition is closing tomorrow 13 September 2014 at 3pm.

    Fairyland: A stranger with a camera. In today’s Jersey Evening Post

    September 9, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    Fairyland: Artist Talk

    September 9, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    11 September 2014 at 1.15pm Jersey Arts Centre. Free entrance.

    Talk at the Jersey Photo Club

    September 8, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    Thank you to the members of the Jersey Photo Club for inviting me to talk tonight. It was wonderful meeting you all. Thank you very much for the gift and please keep up the good work!

    Fairyland: The story behind the frames

    September 6, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    I suppose, it’s not called Fairyland for nothing. As we went ahead with the exhibition planning, I learned that there was a story behind the brown wood frames we borrowed from the Jersey Museum & Art Gallery to construct my grid. I was told those frames have had previous lives. In one of the incarnations they travelled to the Art Institute of Chicago in 2012 and to Jeu de Paume in Paris a year before where they contained the original work of Claude Cahun. She lived and died here in Jersey. That is why Jersey Museum & Art Gallery owns a considerable archive of Claude Cahun’s work and was a major participant in that exhibition.

    So, we knew we could count on those frames but we didn’t know how many of them actually existed. When the plan of my grid was ready we went to the museum to check out those frames. I needed 39. When Gareth and I met Val who took us to the museum storage, she told us there were 39 frames she could lend us. The exact number I needed.

    What does it all mean? Well, it means we got lucky. It also means that it’s not the first time I’ve seen those frames. I saw Claude Cahun’s exhibition in Paris in 2011. It was an eye opener for me. My admiration of Claude Cahun’s courage and fearlessness dates from that very exhibition. So, if courage and fearlessness were a fairy dust, I should probably make sure I rub myself against those frames thoroughly before we return them.

    Photo credit: Entre Nous exhibition view at The Art Institute of Chicago by isa maisa

    Bravo, Marek!

    September 5, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    Marek Kunysz attended the Archisle Contemporary Photography workshop I gave at the Jersey Arts Centre in July-August. While the group worked on a single theme Boundaries each participant chose to treat it from their unique personal angle. I just got a copy of Marek’s self-published publication Boundaries/Journeys which presents in a very effective way the material which he shot and edited during the workshop.

    Baba Yaga lives on

    September 4, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    The numbers are in. With Archisle’s photo education and community outreach program during my Jersey photo residency we were able to reach some 350 students. While this is a good number, it is still a number. It doesn’t tell us the extent of the impact, if any. What is really exciting is to find concrete examples. Like this one. Matt is a student at Hautlieu who attended our photo workshop. He shared the results of his photo experiments with night photography on Hautlieu’s photography programme blog after having seen my photo series The House of Baba Yaga. Check out how his experiments went and what he had to say. Cheers, Matt!

    Thank you!

    September 3, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    We opened last night. Fairyland, the photo exhibition is now on view at the Jersey Arts Centre through 13 Sept 2014. It was a beautiful evening. I am very grateful to everyone who made it possible and to those who came and spent it with us. Spasibo!

    Fairyland, we’re open!

    September 1, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    Installing Fairyland

    August 31, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    It’s Sunday (31/8/14) and the Archisle team (Gareth, Karen and I) is installing Fairyland scheduled to open on Tuesday Sept 2 at the Jersey Arts Centre. Hope to see you then!

    BBC Radio Jersey interview

    August 27, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    This afternoon I was interviewed by the wonderful Sara Palmer on BBC Radio Jersey in relation with our upcoming photo exhibition. The podcast is available for seven days starting from today here. The bit with me starts at 01:16:40. Thank you Sara!

    Printing Fairyland

    August 21, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    With Andy Ford at Spectrum Photographic, a Brighton-based professional photo lab printing large format photos for “Fairyland” exhibition.


    August 18, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    We are pleased to invite you to the launch of FAIRYLAND, an exhibition of new photographs taken in Jersey by Yury Toroptsov, Archisle International Photographer in Residence 2014

    Tuesday 2nd September 2014 from 5.30 to 7.30pm at The Berni Gallery, Jersey Arts Centre, Phillips Street St. Helier, Jersey.

    Exhibition open: 1st – 13th September (closed Sunday)
    Gallery Talk: Thursday 11th September at 1.15pm
    RSVP:, tel 01534 758314

    Download invitation (pdf)

    Battle of Flowers 2014 Day Parade

    August 14, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    My first Battle of Flowers.

    Battle of Flowers 2014

    August 13, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    Jersey’s annual extravaganza the Battle of Flowers starts tomorrow. See you there!

    Jersey stories

    July 31, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    As I go on with my phographic project in Jersey I get to meet very interesting people, just like Jersey Naturalist, a 24 year old Ecologist & Biologist from Jersey (photo above) who found a way to celebrate and identify the islands rich wildlife by creating a platform allowing people to share their own pictures of local flora and fauna. Make sure you visit and subscribe to his fantastic Instagram page.

    Speaking of Jersey stories, I’m looking to photograph a Jersey family. I’m thinking of a mom, dad and their four or five children. I’d appreciate any tips, suggestions you might have. Please email Thank you!


    July 30, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    The Royal Bay of Grouville and its Martian feel and look.

    Number Two

    July 24, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    This afternoon I jumped on a number two bus going to town. The bus was reasonably filled and while validating my bus card I noticed that my favorite seats in the back of the bus were taken. I picked my ticket and went to sit two or three rows away from where I usually sit.

    It is there across the aisle from me was sitting a young man and a girl both in their early twenties. She seemed to be half asleep as her head was leaning against the window and her eyes were closed. The young man’s blond hair was wet. I deduced they were probably coming from a beach.

    There was nothing outstanding about this couple, except for one thing. The young man was holding a book in his hands and he was reading it out loud for the girl to hear. I couldn’t see the book’s title or hear what he was reading. All I heard was a flow of pleasant intonation carrying a story. The young man was reading at a steady pace, making an effort to animate dialogues from the book. It is there I realized that the girl wasn’t asleep. She was in fact listening as the young man’s voice was blending with a noise from the bus’ engine. It was a very unusual sensation to be a part of that scene.

    After some five or six minutes the young man pressed the button demanding the bus to stop at the next stop. He then carefully put away the book he was reading in his backpack. He and the girl got up and while holding their hands got off at the Longueville Road.

    Photography Workshop at the Jersey Arts Centre – Session 3

    July 19, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    It was the third session of the Archisle Photography workshop today at the Jersey Arts Centre. As usual we strted with a review of work shot during the week. Phil, Marek, Val, Will and Cameron impressed me very much with the quality of their work. As we’re taking a month long break before our next and last session in August, I’d like to wish all participants an evenful and productive summer. Look forward to seeing your complete photo projects in four weeks.

    Selfie by Will Lakeman.

    Photography Workshop at the Jersey Arts Centre – Session 2

    July 13, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    It is exciting to see new material produced by the participants of the workshop. Our second session started with a portfolio review followed by an introduction to light with an improvised portrait exercise using ambient light (photos above). Then we did two case studies and planned a location shoot for next Saturday. Great work everybody. Have a productive week!

    Photos of Val by Marek Kunysz.

    Hautlieu Photography Workshop

    July 11, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    Contributed to the last session (before the summer break) of the photography workshop brilliantly organised by Martin Toft and his colleagues at Hautlieu School. This particular session was designed to provide some 70+ students with feedback regarding their ongoing personal projects on the theme of Faith, Family, Community. It was great to see so many familiar faces. I really enjoyed discovering for the first time and discussing students’ work which we previously shot on location. I saw some excellent work in the making. The next step is a field trip to Guernsey Photography Festival in September.

    Archisle (Skipton Open) studio 2014

    July 6, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    Today from 10am to 5pm my Archisle studio at the Société Jersiaise is open to visits. Feel free to stop by!

    Photography Workshop at the Jersey Arts Centre – Session 1

    July 5, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    First session of the photography workshop took place today. What a wonderful group of motivated individuals searching to advance their photographic practice! I enjoyed our first session and now look forward to see your work to be created on the subject of “Borders”. Have a productive week and see you next Saturday.

    Jersey College for Girls photo workshop: Session 2

    July 3, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    Today was the second and final session with photography students of Jersey College for Girls. We started with a review of material previously shot on location. Saw some great work in progress! We continued with an analysis of two contemporary photographers followed by a multiple location photo shoot organised by their photography teacher Tim Barnett. Thanks for an eventful and productive day and see you next week at Hautlieu!


    July 2, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    Here we are already in July. Yeap, I’ve been an islander for three full uninterrupted months. As I enter the second part of my Archisle photography residency in Jersey and things start speeding up a little, I have a feeling July will be a particularly busy month for me.

    In my memory July has always been a busy month. Back in Russia it was the beginning of a short (two or three weeks) but a very intense honey making season linked to blooming of lime trees. I come from a family of beekeepers. Within those couple of weeks if we were lucky with the weather, we’d produce 3-4 tons of honey which was a source of the family’s income for the whole year. So it was important and everyone participated. While most of my school friends were chilling by the river on hot +40C July days, I’d be sweating helping with the bees. God, I hated those insects with all my guts when I was a kid. It was hard work from dawn to dusk. And then of course I’d be stung by a couple of bees daily and I’d be swollen like a chipmunk. Those days are long gone and I haven’t been involved with the bees for ages now but the memories of a busy summer month persist.

    As I begin the second part of my photography residency in Jersey and my teaching engagements are almost fulfilled by now, I will be spending more time working on my own photographic project. I really look forward to it. It’s a wonderful opportunity for me to focus on creating a new body of work, to reflect on things, to meet people, to visit and photograph the island.

    Despite my mixed feelings about bees I think if I were to choose an image to illustrate my Jersey mid-term, it would be that of a busy beehive on a hot July day.

    Photo: A lime, tilia, linden or basswood tree is the most important honey plant in my neck of the woods in Russia. This picture of a lime tree flower was snapped in Gorey, Jersey a week ago.

    Photography workshop at Beaulieu

    July 1, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    Spent a productive day with photography students and their wonderful photography teacher Debbie Jones at Beaulieu school today. Our theme was Edges. I particularly enjoyed the bit where we talked and analysed the work of contemporary photographers with students. Excellent discussion and participation guys. Please keep up the good work and good luck with your individual photo projects!

    Jersey College for Girls photo workshop

    June 30, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    A follow up photo workshop on the subject of Faith, Family, Community organized by Jersey College for Girls (JCG) today. A classroom session in the morning was followed by a locatioin shoot with their photography teacher Tim Barnett. Tremendously enjoyed the excellent exchange and the discussion with students. See you Thursday guys for the next session!

    Selfie by Hannah. Well-done!

    Hautlieu photo workshop: Group C selfie

    June 25, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    Group selfie taken by Tom on his own camera. Classy black and white!

    Hautlieu photo workshop: Group B selfie

    June 25, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    Group selfie taken by Ollie on Reuben’s camera. It’s a winner!

    Photography workshop at Hautlieu

    June 25, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    A full day photo workshop on the subject of Faith, Family, Community organized by Hautlieu school today. A morning classroom session was followed by three rotating location shoots with 45 students visiting all three locations in turns. With Martin Toft at Le Marais, Gary at Gorey Pier and Karen me at Mont Orgueil and Michael liaising between the three. Loved meeting and exchanging with the three groups of highly motivated photography students. Excellent work everyone!

    Photography workshop at Highlands College

    June 23, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    A full day photography workshop with students and staff at Highlands College today. Thank you Alison, Jason, Andy, Meredith, Deimos, Peter, Mathilde, Linda, Amber, Ewa and Kelly for such a warm welcome! Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

    Portfolio reviews at the CCA Gallery

    June 21, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    My office this morning at the CCA Gallery. Meeting Jersey artists and looking at portfolios as a part of Skipton Open Studios 2014.

    Location shoot with De La Salle school students

    June 20, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    A very productive morning with a group of photography students from De La Salle school lead by their wonderful photography teacher Carin Washington. Elizabeth Castle has no secrets from us any longer. Well, kind of. It’s a pleasure working with motivated young people looking to create strong images. Thank you guys and see you again in July.

    Group selfie taken by Alex on my camera.

    Collaborative photo workshop at the Société Jersiaise

    June 20, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    Great collaborative workshop yesterday at the Societe Jersiaise bringing together photography students from four Jersey Schools to develop creative ideas about Faith, Family & Community in partnership with Guernsey Photography Festival 2014. Great to host the motivated students from Hautlieu, De La Salle, Highlands and Jersey College for Girls to connect photo archives and contemporary practice and express their views. Thanks to Martin Toft for bringing the groups together and all staff and students for for their input. Looking forward to sharing new work by all the students in Jersey and Guernsey as this summer. More photos from the event is here

    Photo workshop at Le Rocquier school Day 2

    June 17, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    The second and the final day with this group of Le Rocquier students is now over. Massively enjoyed it! Thank you to students and staff. Keep up the excellent work!

    BBC ONE Channel Island News

    June 12, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    Thank you Emma for spending so much time with us filming the Archisle International Photography Residency 2014. Great questions and meaningful locations. Enjoyed it very much!

    PS. Special thanks to Edward Sault for making it happen.

    Private view 20 June, CCA Galleries @ 6-9 pm

    June 11, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    I’m showing a single piece at a group exhibition at CCA Galleries Int’l in St. Helier (Jersey CI) as a part of Skipton Open Studios 2014. Come join us for a private view on June 20 at 6 pm.

    Photo workshop at Le Rocquier school

    June 10, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    First photo workshop of the series at Le Rocquier School this morning. A fantastic group of 17 motivated and talented students. Great job everybody! Thank you Leah and Karen for a helping hand! See you next week guys.

    Treasure island

    June 8, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    While I was enjoying collecting cockles in the Royal Bay of Grouville, at the very same time (well, almost) but certainly in the very same spot someone was having a much better time collecting a figurine of a (Roman) god Mithra washed out on a beach after a storm. What a fascinating find!

    Source: Grouville Gazette.

    PS. I think I’m through with cockles now.

    A shiny piece of red plastic

    June 6, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    It finally happened. I have met David Gainsborough Roberts. He is a personality on the island and his name came up many times in conversations I had in town. David is a collector of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia. Over a period of thirty years he was able to acquire some of the most recognizable movie costumes in the history of Hollywood.

    My appointment was at 10 this morning. I asked David to sit for a portrait for my Jersey series. I arrived a bit before 10 to be able to find his villa. There are no numbers in Jersey addresses outside St. Helier, just names of villas. The driveway leading to his house is guarded by tall cypresses hiding it from the eyes of passersby. Approaching the villa’s front door I began hearing the light music radio escaping from an open window. Today was the hottest day of the year in Jersey, I think, +27C. A gorgeous day.

    Some time ago I did a project “Marilyn and I” which involved a garment from a personal wardrobe of Marilyn Monroe. Naturally I was curious to see David’s collection, so I asked if I could have that honor and David kindly agreed. There was one piece in particular which I wanted to see. The red sequin dress from “Gentlemen prefer blondes” (1953) in which Marilyn and Jane Russell sang “Two little girls from Little rock”. David owns it.

    When he opened the cardboard box with the dress wrapped in layers of acid-free protective paper I noticed a single sequin lying on a sheet of crystal paper still hiding the dress. It was a strange moment. While doing my Marilyn project I learned to respect Marilyn as I was getting to know her story. And here I was about to touch that woman’s dress (again) out of all places in Jersey. In that instance the shining red spangle which came off the dress looked like a drop of fresh blood. Alive. David wanted to remove it to continue the unwrapping. I asked him to wait as I took out my camera and photographed that piece of red plastic. It is in that moment that I felt my presence on this island was somehow justified as this shiny sequin connected me to my previous work and to all what I’ve done before. It suddenly all made sense.

    Thank you, David!


    May 31, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    Here ends my around the island walk. Time to turn inland.


    May 25, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    The last photo workshop I taught in Jersey was built around the theme of “identity”. It’s the theme of the semester the art students are working on. This vast theme of identity made me think of another kind of related theme – home. This complex notion of home. What do you call home? Can you have more than one home? I’ve been referred to as a Russian photographer which is certainly true. However, I consider Paris being my home too. A home of choice. So what does it make me?

    PS. I am not getting homesick by any chance, am I? But then can you get “homesick” if you do have many homes?

    Photography workshop at Haute Vallee School

    May 22, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    Enjoyed teaching a photography workshop to a group of art and design students at Haute Vallee School. Thank you Bradley, Michael, Chloe, Connor, Ryan, Cassey, Zoe and Jessie! Thank you Sam Bocconne for a warm welcome, the insight and the most helpful presence throughout the day. You have great students. Using drama studio props and costumes was a brilliant idea.

    Eat me

    May 21, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    Instagram and food is a match made in heaven. So, I’ve have been posting food pics on my Instagram since my arrival on Jersey. Those are phone snaps of my own familiar culinary “creations” recreated using local Jersey ingredients. Like the above photo of corn flour crêpes (or what is known as “blini” in Russia) made with the finest Jersey milk, free range happy chicken eggs and accompanied by authentic Jersey honey. It was a Sunday treat.

    But then thinking about eating local food in a broader sense I thought it might have some deeper meaning too. It’s a common motive in folk lore that in order to connect with a place one has to taste/absorb the fruits grown on that land. Like in this tale, to receive protection and to be allowed to hide in the branches of an apple tree and thus escape an angry witch chasing two children, the children had to eat first an apple from the apple tree. There are many other examples. There, another good reason to keep eating… local.

    Message in a bottle

    May 17, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    This paper clipping was a “message in a bottle” found or washed ashore, if you will, between the pages of a book gift on Jersey folk lore (thank you, Gareth!). According to the article quick-silver placed in chimneys has been a means to protect a house from evil spirits in Jersey. When I think of quick-silver, the first thing that comes to mind is a medical thermometer most households in Russia still own and use. It’s an analogue model (here) with a small lump of shiny gray matter (quick-silver) enveloped in a glass casing which remains the most popular (and affordable) model despite the now widely known toxity of quick-silver. Is it a case of “Old habits die hard”? Or rather “Old one but a good one”?

    Black dog

    May 13, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    Those who search shall find. The legend of a terrifying black dog was among the first local Jersey legends I read about. It is said that a black dog with eyes size of saucers is roaming the cliffpaths of the island. So it was a sunny day and I was photographing a dolmen when a black shadow entered my viewfinder.

    The Société

    May 9, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    About Jersey institutions. The Société Jersiaise, my host, is a non-profit learned society founded in 1873 for the study of Jersey archaeology, history, natural history, the ancient language and the conservation of the environment. Bergerac, a British television show (1981-1991) set in Jersey. Produced by the BBC it stars John Nettles as the title character Detective Sergeant Jim Bergerac, a detective in Le Bureau des Étrangers (“The Foreigners’ Office”, a fictional department for dealing with non-Jersey residents), part of the States of Jersey Police. In this episode of Bergerac (35:23 min) the two institutions meet.

    Matter of choice

    May 7, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    When I saw the road sign (above) on my around-the-island walk the other day, I thought of this painting by Vasnetsov (below) which is an illustration of an epic folk poem and a repeating plot in many fairytales across various cultures about a choice that needs to be made by a protagonist in order to continue the journey.

    Inscription on the stone reads: “If you ride to the left, you will lose your horse, if you ride to the right, you will lose your head”.

    Painting by Viktor Vasnetsov: Warrior at the Crossroads, 1882. The Russian Museum, St. Petersburg

    Made for walking

    May 4, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    At the risk of sounding like a 100-year old man who has lived a long life, my residence on the island is bringing back lots of forgotten sensations. Like walking on a beach in rubber boots (or wellies) in shallow water or through paddles left by the retracting sea. I haven’t done that since my childhood. It’s such a pleasant feeling.

    Walking. I do a lot of it here. I don’t drive (which may sound like an embarrassment because they love cars in Jersey – 99 000 residents own 120 000 cars). And whenever I can, I walk. I’m doing the around the island walk bit by bit. It’s a great way to experience the island at a human (slow) pace.

    I wonder what other forgotten thing is going to hit me next? Building sand castles? I do live not far from a beach.

    Liberation Day

    May 1, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    Liberation Day in Jersey is a serious business and is treated as such. As I am getting ready to live my first one on the 9th of May, I saw a preview of what it’s like at the Jersey Museum & Art Gallery where a photo exhibition of Martin Parr’s Liberation is on view through 11 May. We visited the exhibition with Photo Academy students last week. An exhibition not to miss! Here’s a couple of shots of how it looks:

    Martin Parr “Liberation”. For more info about the exhibition, click here

    Tangible history

    April 27, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    Jersey’s dolmens and menhirs date from around 4800 BC to 2250 BC which roughly corresponds to Neolithic, or “new stone age”, to Chalcolithic, or “copper age”. There is also evidence of habitation by the Neanderthals. That’s a lot of history for one little island. But how does the presence of Neolithic monuments and sites in Jersey impact the imagination of the island residents? Those monuments and sites constitute a natural and integral part of their daily landscapes.

    Two nights ago someone who was born and raised in Jersey asked me about the oldest known historical monument in my native region. Honestly, I didn’t know what to answer. Well, I heard about the Balhae sites in Primorsky Krai (Russia) but I never visited one because there’s nothing to visit. Those sites remain inaccessible and a local population most of the time is completely unaware of their existence. And then again the Balhae culture dates back only (!) to 698.

    That night the conversation changed the subject, but the question stuck in my head. Determined to find an answer of some sort, I kept wondering about what was the oldest tangible historic fact/site of importance I came in contact with in my native region. After breaking my head for a while, I finally found one. And in comparison with Jersey’s Neolithic heritage it’s a lightweight because it is a late 19th century one.

    In this case, I suppose my initial question can go the other way round as well. How does the absence of any significant tangible or intangible history in one’s native region impact the imagination of its residents?

    “Eight Degrees” student photo exhibition views

    April 26, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Blog, Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    Eight Degrees, a photo exhibition of students of the Photo Academy at La Motte Street Youth Centre opened to the public at 62 Halkett Place in Saint Helier. A big bravo to the Photo Academy participants (aged 13-18): Alfie, Cameron, Charlotte, Christianna, Emma, Josh, Olivia and Sol for an intense week of hard work and dedication. I hope that the aperture and shutter priority modes don’t hold secrets for you anymore. Thank you to Karen for being the soul of the academy, Janni for his helping presence, and Gareth for making it all happen. Special thanks to Rod McLoughlin for sparing a moment in his busy schedule to come greet the students, award the certificates of completion and open the show. Take a look at the gallery before it opened to the public:

    Eight Degrees

    April 24, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    Come along to the Preview of the ‘Eight Degrees: Photo Academy 3’ exhibition on Friday 25 April @ 62 Halkett Place, St Helier 5.30-7pm and see all the great images produced by our talented group of Jersey teenagers this week working with Archisle: Jersey Contemporary Photography Programme

    Light and shadows

    April 16, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    It’s been a very sunny week in Jersey. I started the exploration of the island by visiting rather obvious places for someone who is learning about the island such as Mont Orgueil Castle, St. Catherine’s Breakwater and other such spots. While photographing the landscapes I couldn’t fail to notice the exceptional intensity and the quality of sunlight here. Strong unobstructed natural light is not ideal but can be dealt with if one is photographing large open spaces. Yesterday, however, I had a challenge of photographing a person in those midday lighting conditions which create rather high contrast shadows. I certainly wished a couple of clouds were there to diffuse the sunlight.

    Cambridge senior lecturer in archeology Dr. Gilly Carr is excavating a former German forced-labour camp on the site of Grouville Marsh. I e-mailed Gilly Carr and asked if I could come over and take a couple of photos of her and her colleague Dr. Peter Masters at work. She kindly agreed. Lager Wick labour-camp was built in February in 1942 during the Occupation of Jersey, a dark moment in the modern history of the island.

    It’s a very interesting project Dr. Carr is doing. The article title in Jersey Evening Post about the excavation read “Digging deep into our occupied past”. Dr. Carr is searching for the remaining material traces of what has been gone for decades now. She will give a talk about her findings on April 16, 2014 at the Société Jersiaise at 8 pm.

    Photo Academy at La Motte Street Youth Centre 21-25 April

    April 13, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    As appeared in JEP 12/04/2014


    April 10, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    It’s here. Arrived yesterday in a small carton box left on the doorsteps by the landlady. I ordered online a portable radio the first day I got on the island. I love radio. Back in Russia where I grew up we didn’t have a TV because the TV signal couldn’t reach Grodekovo, our “in-the- middle-of-nowhere” village and the satellite service wasn’t available yet, so the radio became a faithful companion especially while performing repetitive farm chores. So last night I spent an evening discovering the island’s FM radio range. It was like meeting an old friend I haven’t seen for ages. I caught myself thinking that being on an island, even for a short time it has been so far, brought back some very pleasant but somehow forgotten memories, like the importance of the radio in the past, the presence of nature in one’s everyday island life (taking a bus to town has never been more enjoyable) and most shockingly (to me), the starry sky on a pitch black night just like in Grodekovo – all the things one forgets while living in a big city.

    Yesterday I stayed with the BBC Radio 4 and listened to their Lent Talks programme. Marina Warner spoke about The Power and the Passion, on the power of places It was a good one. She so eloquently articulated the notion of a secular relic, something which I explored with the Marilyn project. Good vibes, staying tuned.

    Warming up

    April 8, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    It’s been ten days since I landed in Jersey and a question about my first impressions of the place already popped up a couple of times in various conversations. I am at the research phase in my Jersey project and have been spending some time at the Société Jersiaise Lord Coutanche Library. I’ve been looking myself for instances of how Jersey was perceived/imagined throughout the history. With Gareth’s help I came into contact with a number of old guide books featuring depictions of Jersey. Here’s a passage from one describing to a nineteenth century “stranger” or what these days is known as a tourist, what to expect while on the island:  

    “One, and the greatest, defect in Jersey society – a defect which sends many an English family out of this Island after but a few months’ residence in it, and prevents thousands in England from ever visiting it – is its paucity of public amusements; its “plentiful lack” of popular entertainments.” (The New Guide Book for Jersey and Guernsey, 1842)

    Things must have been different then. Because since I arrived, I had already witnessed two well-attended photo exhibition openings and a sold out artist talk with a known British photographer organised by the Société alone. And it looks like it’s only a warm up to a rich cultural season.

    (Instagram: The Société Jersiaise, third floor kitchen area)


    April 2, 2014  by Yury Toroptsov  |  Yury Toroptsov's Blog

    Hello! My name is Yury Toroptsov. I’m a Paris-based photographer. I’m this year’s Archisle fellow. Archisle is an international photography residency in Jersey organised and hosted by the Société Jersiaise. From April 1 through September 30, 2014 I will be in Jersey involved in a number of projects such as a photographic commission to produce a new body of work related to the island’s mythology. I’ll be also participating in various educational projects such as Photo Academy at the Youth Centre teaching photographic skills, etc. We’ll be posting a complete programme of events here soon. I look forward to this opportunity to discover firsthand (and share) the rich history of Jersey and meet its people. Please join me and my fellow colleagues from Archisle in this exciting initiative by bookmarking this blog. We’ll be posting updates here regularly. Thank you!