Mitch Karunaratne

Mitch Karunaratne received her MA in Photography from Brighton University, UK. Prior to studying for her MA, she studied Cultural Geography. This influenced her interest between the physical environment and the texture of human life. She currently lives and works in London as both a photographer and teacher. Mitch’s work can mostly found in the form of self-published artist books. Her work mostly focuses on finding small and alternative ways to tell the visual stories that strongly drive her work, as well as find ways to make those stories accessible to others. Her photographic practice sets out to explore the emotional connections between physical environments and Human beings. Today we take a look at her recent work titled, Star City.

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Star City

Star City does not appear on any maps.

Deep within the forest, surrounded by barbed wire, the highly secretive Star City holds the soul of the Russian people. A closed community, where entry involves lengthy negotiations, permission letters and brown envelopes, the Yuri Gagarin Russian State Science Research Cosmonaut Training Centre, has been the training centre for all Soviet and post Soviet Cosmonauts since the late 1950’s. Yuri Gagarin trained here, his wife still lives here, his children live here. Generations of cosmonauts have trained in these surroundings. The city holds the weight of the past, with traces of history, power and a ghost like presence. Dreams of outer space have been a constant in Soviet society since 1920s. Surviving perestroika and the break up of the Soviet Union in 1991, heroic ideas of the future dominate over the present and are a vital source of power and hope. Star City is the symbol of soviet scientific technical progress, strengthening and recovering Russia’s Cosmonauts prestige worldwide. Photographing here, in the inner sanctum, bears important witness to that hope.

I arrive in the forest, find my way through the trees and enter the city of hope.

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To view more of Mitch’s work, please visit her website.



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