It was my good friend from the Moscow-based Hermitage Theatre commissioned me to take a series of portraits of actors of the theatre to place them in the lobby of Hermitage Theatre. There is such a tradition in Russian theatres: in a lobby of any theatre, you can find photos of actors who have ever been associated with it and trace its entire history.

Boris Romanov

Hermitage Theatre. Boris Romanov, actor © Sasha Krasnov

Boris Romanov is a very famous and, most importantly, talented Russian actor with a distinctive character. He no longer stars in movies but does a lot of theatre work.

It was hard for Boris Romanov to find the time for a photoshoot because at that time he was engaged in a number of plays.

So we finally decided to do it at the rehearsal room in the interval between his appearances on the stage, which lasted about 15 minutes.

I prepared the light in advance, and when Boris came in he was obviously in his stage costume. As a background, I used a metal-plated wall, which added this glowing effect.

Vladimir Gusev

Hermitage Theatre. Vladimir Gusev, actor © Sasha Krasnov

Vladimir Gusev is an interesting and authentic Russian actor. To make this portrait we agreed that we would meet at the theater, and I had found a location for future shooting while waiting for Vladimir Gusev to finish his rehearsal.

We began to discuss the shooting, I explained to him my vision and set about the shooting. But all the images turned out “closed” as if we were separated by a wall.

I had only a few shots left on the film roll, we paused, and he started smoking and seemed to calm down a bit. Then, he reached into his pocket and began to get something out of it like a magician, who puts something in one pocket and pulls it out of another.

And it was precisely at this moment that he seemed to open up, the wall disappeared and managed to take this shot.

Yuri Amigo

Hermitage Theatre. Yuri Amigo, actor © Sasha Krasnov

Yuri Amigo is a Russian actor with a foreign-sounding surname and a very impressive and unusual appearance. We met in the theatre and looked for a while for a suitable shooting site.

During the search, we were struck by an idea to simply go to a small stage where no performances were scheduled for that day. I set up flashlights straight at the stage and used the curtain as a background, which I requested to be put down for a while.

As we all are always short of time, Yuri first prepared for a performance he was playing in — Mikhail Bulgakov‘s Zoya’s apartment — and put on stage clothes.

  • Camera: Mamiya C33
  • Lens: Mamiya-Sekor 105mm F3.5
  • Films: Ilford FP4 Plus, Kodak T-Max 100, Kodak Tri-X 400
// Sasha Krasnov