Salt Lake by Boris Mikhailov 
Hardcover; 80 pages
3 pounds; 12 x 0.8 x 15.5 inches
In the southern Ukrainian town where Boris Mikhailov's father was born, a factory spills untreated water directly out into the open sea. Believing these waters to have healing powers, the local people enjoy swimming in it. All year round, families gather on the shore; onlookers might be reminded of a Russian Baden-Baden. Mikhailov shot the filmic, black and white sequence of Salt Lake in 1986, capturing a Russian bohemia of uncanny, eerie proportions and muted light. Scene upon strangely timeless scene sees rough, stocky men and thick, bikini-clad women, their hair tied up in scarves, all bathing naturally on a sea shore crowded with smokestacks, brick warehouses and industrial-size pipes that lead right out into the water, like a dock.
The book itself was designed by the artist using Russian paper and binding materials, and is printed in a limited edition. About the Author Boris Mikhailov was born in 1938 in Charkov, Ukraine and still lives in his hometown when not teaching at Harvard. Trained as a technical engineer, he began to work with photography at the age 28, and was promptly fired from his factory job when the KGB discovered nude photos he had taken of his wife. Thus began his career as a photographer. In the more than 30 years since then, Mikhailov's work has been widely shown throughout Europe and the United States, including at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Carnegie International, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Baltimore, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, the MIT List Center, Cambridge, the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Photographers Gallery, London, the DAAD Gallery, Berlin, and the Sprengel Museum, Hannover. His previous publications include Unfinished Dissertation and Case History, and he is the recipient of a Hasselblad Award.