The Iron Fist

Photos by Dominik Staszowski

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Dominik Staszowski was born in Radom Poland in 1971 and in 1983 he migrated to Melbourne Australia where he currently works as a freelance photographer. Dominik contributes to Getty Images, His work has been published in various magazines, as well as been chosen for Best Of Annual 2012 Documentary Photography Category by Capture magazine.

Dominik was always fascinated with documenting stories that speak of Culture and Reality. Having lived in a Country that was oppressed by the Iron Curtain, his fascination of the Post Communism Culture always drew his attention and his Lens. One of the intriguing and curious photo essays came about as he travelled through Russia. Even though, its been more than 20 years since the fall of Communism in Russia, Dominik felt, that former Soviet Block Countries together with Russia retained that distinct feel and character that he remembered whilst living in Poland as a young boy.

The Iron Fist  Photo-Essay depicts a cold and atmospheric reportage of once Powerful USSR. From its Military power to Communist Dictatorship and the 1917 Russian Revolution Battle Cruiser Aurora, this Nation is steeped in conflict history. 

Revolutionary Propaganda Statues in the former Soviet Block Countries, conveying Soviet Relations, Revolutionary Propaganda, Marx and Engels, Red Army Movement, Uniting Comrades to Lenin no longer line the streets, but rest in Graveyards and museum parks.  Much of these statues have been destroyed since the fall of Communism, but some can still be seen in Russia and other Countries. Dominik think’s the one that reflects the horror and hate of the Iron Curtain and its tyranny in the former Soviet Block Country of Hungary is the Statue of Stalin. The only thing that remained of the Statue after it’s destruction in 1990 were the boots where his figure was publicly cut off to mark the end of oppression. 

Travelling through Russia Dominik was able to document the once most powerful and threatening Nation’s  Military mite. In St Petersburg, formerly named Leningrad along the river Neva, Military docks and factories resembled a ghost town. During the height of the Cold War, these shipyards struggled to keep up with large military orders. The Soviet armed forces had an annual budget of 120 billion pounds, now it is a fraction of that, some say as little as 3 billion. Much of this Northern fleet is inoperable, about two thirds of the total have been decommissioned, at least 52 of these still contain their nuclear fuel. For 50 years the Northern Fleet was the pride of the USSR.  The iron ships ruled the steel-grey waves with a mailed fist. Now the fleet is a shadow of its former self. It poses a greater threat to the environment than the West. All over the north of Russia, as in St Petersburg their long steel hulls lie rusting at docksides. Striped off their weapons, they still remind you of the presence and the power the Soviet Military had.  

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