Norwegian photographer Jonas Bendiksen spent much of his early career in Russia, documenting themes from the fringes of the former Soviet Union. In Kazakhstan, Bendiksen captured the land and people living under the flight paths of Russian rockets. Space rockets consist mainly of fuel tanks and booster engine stages that never reach orbit, falling back to earth when spent. Due to the land-locked location of Baikonur, Russia’s biggest launching complex in Kazakhstan, rockets do not reach the ocean before they come crashing down, often falling into populated areas. Pictured here, a Soyuz rocket fuel tank, 2000.

I guess I'm a fairly simple photographer. There is very little hocus-pocus about what I do

Jonas Bendiksen
© Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos

Jonas Bendiksen was born in Norway in 1977. He began his career at the age of 19 as an intern at Magnum Photos’ London office, before leaving for Russia to pursue his own work as a photographer. Throughout the several years he spent there, Bendiksen photographed themes from the fringes of the former Soviet Union, a project that was published as the book Satellites (2006), as well as solo exhibitions internationally.

In 2005 he started working on The Places We Live, a project on urban slums across the world, which combined photography, projections and voice recordings to create three-dimensional installations. This resulted in both a worldwide exhibition and book in 2008. His latest project, The Last Testament, about seven men who claim to be the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, was released as a 460-page book in fall 2017. It is also now an exhibition travelling internationally. Bendiksen joined Magnum Photos in 2004, and lives outside of Oslo with his wife and three children.

© Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos

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