As in last year’s August 2019 issue, this year’s August 2020 issue has two themes: Photojournalism and Travel Photography. And, by and large, you’ll find that most articles focus on either photo-j or travel shots. However, occasionally, you’ll find an article that is equal parts travel photography and photojournalism. I think that’s true of the work of Ukrainian-born photographer Dina Litovsky, who captured the cover shot for this issue. You’ll find the same qualities in the other images in the story, as well, which was written by Mark Edward Harris, who asked the photographer why she has chosen to photograph Amish and Mennonite travelers from all over the U.S., who each winter descend upon Pinecraft, a small community in Sarasota, Florida.
In the article, you’ll learn that the series, for which Litovsky has won several awards, including this year’s prestigious Nannen Prize for Documentary Photography, in Germany, began as an editorial assignment for a magazine. But Litovsky has continued to return to Florida to photograph this group, and it’s become a very important personal project for her.
For me, there’s something truly unique about this photos. Part of it is informed by Litovsky’s conceptual sense of the subjects she photographs and why. On her website, Litovsky describes her photographs as “visual sociology,” in which she “examines different aspects of contemporary culture, often focusing on subcultures and social gatherings.” There’s also a whimsical suggestion of deadpan humor in the work—but it’s sophisticated and gentle, not mocking or disrespectful in tone.
In the end, what fascinates me is the cumulative effect of mixing her narrowly focused study of this particular cultural group with her documentary aesthetic and travel photography skills: For me, it’s almost impossible to look at these conspicuously anachronistic images and not ask myself, “What’s going on here? Where are these people? What are they doing? And what year is this?” In doing so, Litovsky’s images seems to draw you in very quickly and transport you, both visually and conceptually. And because the surreal visuals are so rich in detail and the compositions are so wonderfully thought out, the photos let your eyes roam around in the spaces of these photographs, while simultaneously giving your mind room to figure out just what is going on.
Eventually you figure out there’s no sleight of hand or trickery going on. You settle on the notion that these particular scenes really exist, somewhere in real life and real time, maybe even today, right now, somewhere in Pinecraft, Florida.
— By Terry Sullivan, Editor, Digital Photo Pro
To see more of Dina Litovsky’s work, check out her Instagram feed: @dina_litovsky
The August 2020 issue of Digital Photo Pro is available now in a variety of digital formats and is currently on newsstands now.
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Cover image: Originally Published June 16, 2020