When you hold Justyna Mielnikiewicz’s book in your hands, you know you are about to enter onto a mysterious and complex journey with the author.
A small window cut into the front cover shows a glimpse of an almost colorless landscape. As you open the book, the little grayish snippet turns out to be a small part of a large, powerful photograph of a green and lush landscape, rich with water, trees and a distant village.
That contrast in viewpoint – and expectations – echoes throughout the pages that follow.
“Woman with a Monkey” is a photography book by Mielnikiewicz, a prize-winning, Polish-born freelance photojournalist (who works for EurasiaNet.org among other publications), that chronicles her personal experiences and encounters with the South Caucasus’ history, politics and culture for over a decade.
This is not a history book, nor is this a comprehensive account of the wars and political turmoil that the South Caucasus, one of the world’s most complex regions, has seen. It is a book that tells the little stories of mostly ordinary people struggling through the changes and challenges of their daily existence.
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Yoav Horesh is a photographer and educator who has photographed and taught photography in the United States, Europe and Asia. Currently, he is based in Tel Aviv.