In this series, I put together portraits which I was either asked to take by my acquaintances and not-so-familiar people for various purposes or I myself initiated their creation. Although, generally speaking, these are the same portraits as editorial headshots, but they were made with greater creative freedom.
Tata is a young and talented filmmaker. She is also my very old friend, with whom we love to discuss movies and photos. Now she lives in Germany, but every time we meet I make a new portrait of her.
Paulina, a young artist, has dreamt of having her portrait taken by me — and her wish came true after I’ve seen her face which reminded me of Middle Age ladies.
We agreed on an outdoor portrait session in both color and B&W and — luckily for us — managed to spend an hour, making good use of the soft afternoon light which highlighted her skin tone so beautifully.
Maria is the daughter of a talented Russian architect who is famous for his projects of large and stunning country houses. He wanted to have a portrait of Masha at the age when children grow up and change very quickly. This young lady is an adorable child, who enjoys having her pictures taken.
These portraits were made during a photo shoot about architects and their children, commissioned by a famous Russian architecture magazine. I worked on it as an assistant to the chief photographer. I took such a liking to Maria that I offered her father to take several portraits of her while the main photo shoot was taking place.
German Vinogradov is a Russian artist famous for his ritual-like performances.
He still occasionally stages them in his apartment in central Moscow, using various objects made of metal, such as pipes and debris of machine parts, and those embodying key elements — fire, water, earth, and air — to produce an engulfing experience.
German Lukomnikov is a poet and performer, who has authored over 12 poetry books. In 2015 he got 2nd place at the Worldwide Poetry Slam in Paris. But he is not just a poet, he is also a palindromist who makes up sentences that read the same backward as forward.
He is also a children’s writer working under a pseudonym “Bonifacius” after a lion cub from the Soviet cartoon, whose mane resembled German’s hairstyle.
Once he asked me to take a portrait of him for a poster promoting one of his performances in Prague. We decided to go with a headshot making his eye expression look a bit crazy.
I got a chance to shoot Damien Hirst, reportedly the UK’s richest living artist, when came to Moscow in mid-2000s to take part in a closed exhibition organized by Russian tycoons.
He looked a bit detached from reality, maintaining his iconic status.
This work is one of the best-known graffiti on the Berlin Wall, which embodies all the idiocy that was going on in the countries within the Soviet bloc at that time.
I was asked to make his portrait ahead of the anniversary of its creation to go with an article about Vrubel in an art magazine.
Viktor Yerofeyev is a Russian writer famous for his “anti-socialist realism” style, one of the most prominent examples of which is his book Life With An Idiot. It is this book which inspired famous composer Alfred Schnittke to write a namesake opera that was premiered in Amsterdam in 1992.
Another novel of Viktor Yerofeyev — Russian Beauty — won him a reputation in the West as a Russian writer who was bold to the point of physiological vulgarity.
This portrait of him was commissioned by Polish men’s magazine to go with an interview with Viktor Yerofeyev about the Polish literature and culture, which he had a good knowledge of after spending many years there with his Polish wife.
Marina Alexandrova is a popular Russian actress, who is especially famous for her role of Russian Empress Catherine the Great.
She is not really well-known outside of Russia, having starred in just a handful of foreign films, which I find pitiful. And I bet that a woman warrior character in an international fantasy movie will really fit her.