Nikita Teryoshin
Nothing Personal - the back office of war

Every day, the news shows images from war zones; at the same time, arms exports reach new record highs year after year. With this photo-reportage, Nikita Teryoshin takes a look behind the scenes of the global armaments business. Between 2016 and 2019, he visited selected weapons fairs in Europe, Africa and Asia as well as North and South America; he found huge war playgrounds for adults along with wine, beer and finger food. At these fairs, stage-ready acts of war are performed for high-ranking guests, ministers, heads of state, generals and dealers. Visitors can try handling machine guns and rocket-propelled infantry weapons on screens. The enthusiasm for these gleaming weapons, which may one day appear on battlefields, in civil wars or in the hands of dictators, is great.

  • Artificiality
  • Play
  • Violence
  • War
3 Questions
1. The door opener: Can you describe a formative moment in your career as a visual journalist?

A formative moment for me was the shitstorm that happened in the Facebook group for picture editors after I had published my brand new photos of the 2016 CDU federal party conference. Most critics didn’t understand the way I had used flash, or the fact that there were also many people who thought the pictures were just great. Some “colleagues” just fooled around in the comment column and private messages. “Enough!”, I thought. I kept going, visiting other party conferences. The result was the series “Game of Chairs – vom Glanz und Elend der Bundesparteitage”. The FUTURZWEI and Business Punk publications made it to the final round of the Nannen Prize, and I was allowed to photograph the 2017 election campaign for the German magazine DER SPIEGEL.

2. The decisive moment: When did you first encounter your topic and why did you decide to cover it photographically?

At the beginning of 2016, I went to a hunting fair in Dortmund; it was being held in the Westfalenhallen next to our university. It really surprised me to see the attraction that the guns on display (hunting rifles) held for the visitors. That gave me the impulse for the series “Sons & Guns”. Even back then, I anonymised the photos of the sons. I couldn’t resist the lure of a professional arms fair, so I visited the largest one in Eastern Europe, which is held in the Polish city of Kielce, in September 2016. When I was a little boy, I liked playing soldier, but since then I had lost interest in the subject. That made it even more fascinating to immerse myself in the world of the global arms trade.

3. The future: What could the visual journalism of the future be like?

I would like it to be colourful, independent, critical, free of dogma and less iconographic, if you please. More pictures that make people think and reveal interrelationships than just emotionalise.

Curated by Amon Kaiser

© for all photos by the photographers
© for videos Lumix Festival Hanover, if not indicated otherwise.

*1986 in Leningrad, Russia
Nikita Teryoshin studied photography at Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts. He describes his long-term documentaries as “street, documentary and everyday horror”. In these projects, he observes the global arms trade or the industrial exploitation of dairy cows. As a freelancer, he works for Süddeutsche Zeitung and ZEIT Magazin, DER SPIEGEL, Stern and other publications. In 2019, he not only took first prize at the Miami Street Photography Festival, he was awarded the PH Museum Grant as well. 2020 he was nominated for the World Press Photo of the Year and won the first prize in the category „Contemporary Issues“.


More Picture Series