Master Award 2020 | Nikita Teryoshin – ENG

Master Award Winner 2020Nikita Teryoshin
Nothing Personal - the back office of war

Everyday on the news we are watching pictures of war and destruction and the expenditure on armaments is setting new records year after year.
Well, let‘s take a look at the other side of the subject – behind the curtains of global defence business. Nothing Personal shows the back office of war, which is the complete opposite of a battlefield: an oversized playground for adults with wine, finger food and shiny weapons. Dead bodies here are mannequins or pixels on screens of a huge number of simulators. Bazookas and machine guns are plugged into flat screens and war action is staged in an artificial environment in front of a tribune full of high ranked guests, ministers, heads of states, generals and traders.

The photographer doesn’t deliberately  show you the faces of the business men. It is not his intention to fix everything upon a certain person. The anonymized traders with weapons coming out of their heads could be seen as a reference to John Heartfield’s anti-war drawing from the 1930s before the WW2 “Dangerous Dining Companions”. Nikita likes the idea of this symbolism.

Nowadays companies use slogans like, ‘70 years defending peace’ or, ‘Engineering a better tomorrow’. It is hard to imagine that some people in the weapons industry believe these things.
Still there is an interesting quote from the inventor of the machine gun Richard Gatling that says: ‘It occurred to me that if I could invent a machine – a gun – which could, by its rapidity of fire, enable one man to do as much battle duty as 100, that it would, to a large extent, supersede the necessity of large armies and consequently, exposure to battle and disease be greatly diminished.’ His motivation was not to accelerate the process of killing, but to save lives by reducing the number of soldiers needed on the battlefield. The future Gatling wrought was not one of less bloodshed however, but unimaginably more. The Gatling gun laid the foundations for a new class of machine; the automatic weapon.

The pictures of this project that is still ongoing have been taken so far at 14 defence exhibitions between 2016 and 2020 in Europe, Africa, Asia, North and South America (Poland, Belarus, South Korea, Germany, France, South Africa, China, United Arab Emirates, USA, Peru, Russia, Vietnam and India). The final goal of the project is to make pictures on every continent and to underline the global thing of this specific business and to publish as a photo book.

Photo copyright: © Nikita Teryoshin

Based in Berlin, Nikita Teryoshin was raised in St. Petersburg, Russia and then moved to Dortmund, Germany where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Photography. He describes his work as street, documentary and everyday horror.

Teryoshin graduated with his first long term project Hornless Heritage (2014 – 2019) focused on the matrix-like world of the german dairy cow industry, which was exhibited at the Festival of Ethical Photography in 2018.
Between 2016 and 2020, he visited 14 Defence Fairs in 13 countries on 5 continents for insight into the global arms trade for his story, ‘Nothing Personal – the backoffice of war’. This work was supported by the VG Bildkunst and a PH Museum Grant. The project has been exhibited in Strasbourg, France and Biel and Geneva in Switzerland and won the german VG Bild-Kunst research grant in 2018, Miami Street Photography Festival 2019 first prize in Series, Kolga Tbilisi in 2020 first prize in Documentary and the World Press Photo 2020 first prize in the category Contemporary Issues and has been nominated for the picture of the year.

In September 2019, he participated in the World Press Photo Foundation’s Joop Swart Masterclass, and started the series ‘I’ve never been to Russia’.

Teryoshin works as freelance photographer for publications such as SZ-Magazin, ZEITMagazin, GQ, 11Freunde, Der Spiegel and Stern. His personal projects have been published in VICE, Le Monde, Vrij Nederland, ZEIT Magazin, GUP Magazine, WIRED, and Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Lodi, Palazzo Barni Vittorio Emanuele II, 17