Exploring Earth's Unknown Worlds

For MTLocals on the Taymyr Peninsula celebrating an annual festival with reindeer and sleds. Kruglov said little has changed in these remote areas for 100 years.
The photo exhibition "Unknown World: Earth" at the FotoLoft Gallery at Winzavod is showing some of the best work from GEO magazine's archives, documenting expeditions of Russian explorers into some of the most remote and unexplored regions of the world.

The exhibition is centered on a newly released project by Russian photographer and filmmaker Leonid Kruglov called "The Brave Seven," which is displayed here for the first time and includes a documentary on his expedition.

From warring African tribes to endangered Siberian tigers and the pristine, uninhabited landscapes of the Far East and India, Kruglov's work takes viewers to the four corners of the earth, inviting them to observe life in these "lost worlds."

Following in the footsteps of seven famous Russian explorers from the 19th century, Kruglov has traveled to some of the most remote regions of the earth. Since 2000, he has trekked from Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea and India to Tibet, Mongolia and the Taymyr Peninsula, the northernmost part of Siberia.

Since Alexander Bulatovich became the first European to cross Ethiopia in 1899, very little has changed, Kruglov said. "The Ethiopian tribes still observe the traditional battles with sticks between villages. ... The only difference is that now many of them have Kalashnikov rifles on their shoulders."

During the first year of his expedition in Ethiopia, Kruglov found it very difficult to take photographs. The local tribes believed that his camera was a gun and ran away in fear every time he approached. "A year later, we managed to make friends with some of the residents there," he said.

Globetrotting has become a way of life for Kruglov. "I spent only 1 1/2 months in Moscow last year," he said. "We went from India, where it was 40 degrees [Celsius], straight to the Arctic, where we used dog sleds to get around."

A historian by profession, Kruglov has worked as a photographer for 18 years. "I prefer photography to filmmaking," he said. "A photo, I believe, can depict much more than hours of footage."

Kruglov's next expedition, his seventh, is scheduled for 2009. This time he plans to circumnavigate the earth on a sailboat.

"Unknown World: Earth" runs to Sep. 25 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the FotoLoft Gallery at Winzavod, located at 1 4th Syromyatnichesky Pereulok, Bldg. 6. M. Kurskaya. Web site www.winzavod.ru.