Allan Sekula

American, 1951-2013

Crew, pilot, and Russian girlfriend (Novorossisk) 1-10

© Estate of Allan Sekula

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.


Crew, pilot, and Russian girlfriend (Novorossisk) 1-10, 1999-2010

Artwork Details


ten chromogenic color prints


2/2 (from a planned edition of 5)


each (framed): 41 1/2 x 60 1/2 inches (105.41 x 153.67 cm)

Collection Buffalo AKG Art Museum


Albert H. Tracy Fund, by exchange, 2015

Accession ID


Allan Sekula created photographs, Conceptual art, and theoretical writings that embodied what he called “critical realism.” This ten-part photographic work was created as part of Ship of Fools, the last major project Sekula completed before his death. Ship of Fools was the product of Sekula’s collaboration with the International Transport Workers Federation (an umbrella organization of maritime labor unions).

He traveled on a cargo boat retrofitted as a multimedia exhibition space and sponsored by the Federation for several legs of its two-year circumnavigation. During his journeys, he created portraits of workers at sea and on shore. His underlying challenge was making perceptible the usually invisible power of the maritime economy as an engine of globalization. The title of this work, Crew, pilot, and Russian girlfriend (Novorossisk) 1–10, suggests the hierarchy among those depicted. Their jobs and roles on the ship seem to be prescribed and, indeed, illustrated by the uniforms they wear. However, these are not typological profiles. Sekula represents the human face behind the ship’s power structure and the engines of its work.

Label from Overtime: The Art of Work, March 8–May 17, 2015