f100: Brigitte Grignet and Andy Spyra

© Brigitte Grignet

fototazo has asked a group of 50 curators, gallery owners, blog writers, photographers, academics and others actively engaged in photography to pick two photographers that deserve (more) recognition - the underknown, the under-respected as well as not-appreciated-enough favorites. A little more information on the project is available in the first post in the series here.

Today we continue the series with responses from Adriana Teresa.

The series also includes responses from Nicholas NixonMatt JohnstonBlake AndrewsJohn Edwin MasonAline SmithsonColin PantallMichael WernerLiza FetissovaLaurence Salzmann, Bryan Formhals, Richard Mosse, Shane Lavalette, Amy Stein, Amani Willett, Wayne FordS. Billie MandleLeslie K. BrownGordon StettiniusMarc Feustel, Hin ChuaAdriana Rios MonsalveDaniel AugschoellLarissa LeclairElinor Carucci, Pieter Wisse, Daniel EchevarríaNatalie MinikQiana MestrichJason Landry, Rona Chang, Stella Kramer, Joanne LukitshYumi Goto, Gwen Lafage, Heidi Romano, Julie Grahame, Stefano Bianchi, Steve BissonCharles Guice, Ulf Fågelhammar, Tamas Dezso, Oliver SchneiderJulia Schiller, Lars Boering, John Matkowsky and Greater Middle East Photo.

Adriana Teresa Letorney (aka Adriana Teresa) is the co-founder of FotoVisura (2009) and Visura Media (2010) and is committed to supporting the international photography community as well as education. She has participated in and produced, most notably, Visura Magazine (Publisher/ Editor-in-Chief), FotoVisura.com (co-founder/creative director), The FotoVisura Grants (co-founder/Juror) and The FotoVisura Portfolio Consultations (producer/reviewer).

Brigitte Grignet and Andy Spyra

[Editor's note: Adriana Teresa invited both of her selections to contribute personal commentaries about their work and projects. Their responses are printed below.]

© Brigitte Grignet

Brigitte Grignet
Every day, we see and we hear so many things. It is a bit like if someone was telling us a story, never finished, with a thousand and one details. Suddenly there is a surprise. Something ordinary, an emotion. Life has moved and we are amazed. Bits of things speak to us, others get lost, never reaching us.

In these moments of acute awareness, the world seems like a new place. Before the mind has analyzed the meaning of the moment, my finger has already pressed the shutter, intuitively. The year, the place have lost their importance…. The images seem to create their own universe. Even if I feel connected to the outside, to the people around me, it is as if the perception of the world brings us back to memory, to childhood, to an infinitely intimate place. In the solitude of these moments, the discovery of the others and of oneself pushes us to write a story as we have experienced it, emotionally, beyond the exoticism of places and moments.

© Andy Spyra

Andy Spyra
"Echoes and memories"
In 1992, Yugoslavia was coming to its end and its constituting countries were driven by nationalistic propaganda, fighting for independence along their ethnic borders. After Bosnia claimed independence in 1992, the resulting war lasted for four years and became the scene of a Muslim genocide, carried out by Bosnian-Serb forces. At the end of the war, 100,000 people lost their lives, millions fled and a whole state and its society lay in ruins.

Today, 15 years after the war and with Bosnia now officially at peace, one can still see and feel the aftermath of the genocide. In the Drina Valley, the towns and surrounding villages of Foca, Visegrad, Zvornik, Zepa and Srebrenica, which compromise the area of eastern Bosnia - the atmosphere is like a deep fog of collective trauma that is hovering over the land and its people, still poisoning the human spirit that used to exist in the multicultural state of Bosnia. Nowadays, the feelings of tension and fear and a deep division between the people are constant companions, silent reminders of the atrocities and the genocide committed here.

The project "Echoes and memories" is a journey into this atmosphere, created by the war. I want to explore the many layers of history, meandering between a golden past and the dark chapters of the war, discovering a place lost between silence, melancholic beauty and destruction. Travelling into this region of Bosnia, one is not only travelling in space, but in time as well. Little has changed since the end of the war. With the means of photography, I want to capture memories and intimate impressions in the year of the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the war in eastern Bosnia. It is a investigation into the current atmosphere as well as a documentation into a past, that is both uniting and dividing this region.
The aim is to capture the essence of the last twenty years of history in the Drina Valley, what has happened and how it affected the present in a region so uniquely beautiful and tragic.

I believe in the importance of this project, as not documenting it would equal a contribution to "memocide," the extinction of history and a continuation of the genocide.

Because those who are forgotten have never existed. And their stories go unheard.

The faces of the survivors tell their stories and impose a moral obligation on us:

To listen.
To remember.
And to learn.

© Andy Spyra