Mikhail Nagoga, Autumn in Leman – 20 septembre – 4 novembre 2011


20 septembre  – 4 novembre 2011

Mikhail Nagoga
Autumn in Leman
Photography of the Great Outdoors 


Alpine dreaming

Autum impressions of the Leman slopes through the lens of Mikhail Nagoga

It was quite unusual for a young Russian boy to have his own Zenith V reflex camera. But Mikhail Nagoga was so intrigued by the wonders of the magical box and the dark room of a neighbor that he simply had to have one. In fifth grade he began to save money by avoiding his favorite cafeteria for a while and by taking up a part-time summer job “hammering together mail parcel boxes.” He accumulated a considerable amount and his mother, who couldn’t bear to see her young son work so hard, supplied the remainder. Mikhail became the proud young owner of a Zenith V.

At the age of 17 he left home to pursue his studies of telecommunication engineering at the Odessa Institute of Communications. He also became a mountaineer at that age. He joined a mountain club in Odessa and began to climb in the Crimea. “Zenith” faithfully accompanied him, up to the highest heights, including Communism Peak in the Pamir Mountains, at 7498m. Mikhail has climbed the steepest cliffs and the toughest mountains. He always realized that the risks he took were enormous, literally every step of the way, while he became a Candidate of Master of Sports. But a mountaineer is who he is; you climb or you don’t. “Mountains are a part of my life,” he states.

  In the nineties, many people in the Soviet Union needed an additional income to make ends meet. While he worked at the Astronomical Institute of Moscow State University Mikhail landed a job at Visnews later on known as Reuters Television. He became a stringer (a free-lance journalist), and spent time in “hot spots” around the Soviet Union. In this capacity he witnessed “presidential elections, natural disasters, local wars and catastrophes.” He lived in a time when a huge country began to fall apart. “It was a breathtaking opportunity to actually capture these transformations,” Mikhail recalls.

He recorded video footage for Reuters TV, some of which has become famous among his peers. Vilnius, January 13, 1991, when Soviet forces collided with demonstrators for Lithuanian independence, and the Moscow-night of August 20-21, 1991, are among them.

For a year he tried to combine video recording and photography, but decided that the rapid switching between constantly moving targets and static compositions was not for him.

Mikhail became affiliated with EPFL in the group of Prof. Fazan in 2000, then moved on to an innovative start-up company four years later.

Switzerland became his picture-paradise. He discovered that when your interests evolve around mountaineering, rock-climbing, skiing and hiking, the Alpine world is all but too ready to receive the eager eye of an outdoor photographer.

Mikhail’s work has a pure quality to it. As a boy he attended many exhibitions with his artist-sister and became aware of the compositions in the work of other artists. He then consciously tried to create beautiful ones in his own work, paying careful attention to detail, light and lines from the beginning.

His slopes unfold in golden vineyards. A dreamy Lake Leman gives way to quiet pondering, while rugged mountain rims bathe in a serene autumn light or a tranquil veil of haze. “I like to work with fog,” he explains, “for it adds a kind of natural mystique to my work.”

We also recognize local sleepy-towns, comfortably nestled in a granite cavity of Mother Nature. And let’s not forget the mountain fauna. One sunny fall day Mikhail encountered two photo-genic male Alpine goats. They were very much aware of his presence, and gave him ample time to observe them in an exclusive forty-minute photo shoot. While they were standing side by side overlooking a valley from up high, quietly moving about, playing and embracing each other, one of them smiling, the other gently looking straight into the lens, he had the opportunity to document a series of unforgettable and unique mountain moments under a vast, deep blue autumn sky that are not to be missed.

Enjoy the show!

Gusta van Dobbenburgh



“Autumn in Leman”

Photography of the Great Outdoors

Mikhail Nagoga

Show: September 20 – November 4

Monday through Friday 8h45 – 17h00

Vernissage: Thursday, September 22, 18h00 – 20h00

Location: ELA Gallery room 010

Information: 021 691 1188 or gusta@botanical.nl