In Bodily Confessions, I have used photography as a means of exploring my femininity, national identity, and gender politics as a Russian born, white woman living in the United States.
Coming from a rather conservative society I had to challenge a lot of constructed ideas to be able to identify myself as a feminist, though now I know, I was one long before that. It is hard to place yourself within the movement in a society where the said movement is barely known and not very well understood.
But right after understanding where I stand I realized that I’m far behind in the contemporary discourse following the ideas of “all-women-united and minorities- and color-blind” feminism. The feeling of displacement within both societies, both countries and both movements followed me on my path to understanding the white privilege and embracing the ideas of contemporary intersectional feminism, of unity that is inclusive.
This project is about my journey on recognizing and interpreting my whiteness, my body, my power, my presence and place through photography. This journey is both literal and metaphorical, a journey of finding my place as an artist and as person.
Bodily Confessions is an introspective translation of a political statement, it is an intimate exploration of the relationship of past and present within one’s identity and the dynamics of self-empowerment and vulnerability. Through Bodily Confessions I place myself into the feminist discourse as well as into the society that is new to me.
American national idea is that of the redemption, the belief in second chances. Russian national idea is that of a redemption of a soul, a slow and inevitable melancholy of realization of one’s errors. I embrace and reject both of them, thus adding up to the idea of not belonging. At the same time the placelessness and timelessness are not desperate or sad, they transformed into embracing the idea if ephemerality of my being. They are an abject (if we can apply the term to emotional rather than material experiences) in reverse, when something familiar, something that we know as sad is by virtue of photography, by becoming a subject and interacting with my camera as both subject and object, shift into being beautiful - beautiful not necessarily in the aesthetic sense but in a broader sense of beauty as existing.
Relations between the delicacy of human skin and the textures and surfaces of the world around us fascinate me and make me wonder how we may feel displaced and uncomfortable when we touch something like cold metal or thorns of a thorn bush.
By placing my own body in these situations I want to talk about power, control and the balance between self-infliction and being imposed. In Julia Kristeva’s speculations on abjection she is talking about the feeling of unfamiliarity and even disgust the familiar objects may evoke when they are changed or shifted. This play of perception interests me greatly and though I’m keeping balance in not going to far in sensationalism evoking disgust, I definitely want to make my viewers experience the feeling of disturbance and alienation.
This physicality is combined with the inner emotions, which evoke it and are at the same time evoked by the process of creating these images. It’s an exploration of my personal hidden dark emotions and the sensuality they may be represented by.
Tell me how it ends
Tell me how it ends is a series addressing my personal emotional experience. “It” is undefined. By exploring the world of inner concerns and desires I try to find the answer on the eternal questions about life, love, relationship: how they last, and how they end, and where do they leave us. Every relationship weather friendship or love or of any other kind influences us, leaves little scars and marks on our soul. Those scars, those moments of despair, confusion and transition are of interest to me in this project.
Through making work about personal history and using my own body as the subject matter I aim to provoke the viewers to revisit their own stories, re-live them, address their self-reflection and at the same time realize that they are not alone going through the perplexity of changes.
Baring my sole to the viewers I hope to engage them into the dialog about the unavoidable end of all our connections and life itself.
Closer not so close
The realms of real and fantasy collide and sometimes it makes it difficult to tell the dream from the objective truth.
Living in the contemporary world under the pressure of routine and determined reality leads us to seek an escape from it in the world of surreal.
For this series I exposed the rephotographed scenes from popular TV series over domestic space on medium format film creating the new reality on the edge of false and truth merging into each other.
In the shadow of regret
People come and go into each other’s lives, and sometimes they are present only for such a short while, that so many words are left unsaid. Those unsaid words hang in the air like an invisible connection to those who even may no longer be part of our being. The presence of another soul by your side, the soul you can reach out no matter time and distance is a feeling, as ephemeral and dynamic as a play of light on your bedroom floor. It is always there, but it is never the same.
Burning it onto the living surface of the film and caging it into the square frame of the medium format is an attempt to say the things that where left unspoken to those who left your time and your space.
Recently people are prone to prejudice and therefore are hostile to all different, they lack trust to each other and these facts result in isolation between people and in building walls between people both literally and figuratively. This series of photographs represents a fence as a visual interpretation of isolation and communication decay and a literal symbol of separation between people.
Lost in space
This project explores relationship between human body and architectural space. Space undeniably influences our actions; we read the signs of places and behave according to the information we receive. At the same time we in our turn influence the space around us, give it purpose and shape it to fulfil our needs. Realizing that my main way of understanding the world around me is through seeing it, I decided to try to get to know the new space without using my eyesight. For this project I found the space I'm not familiar with and recorded with the help of the assistant the process of my acquaintance with it. The first part of the imagery was shot on black and white film to highlight the impression of blindness. The second part of the imagery shot on color film shows my interaction with the space, a dialog with it.