Yuri Mamleev is one of the most significant contemporary Russian writers and philosophers, who attracted scores of unofficial artists in his flat in the Soviet times. He had to emigrate to the United States and then to France after his literary works drew the wrath of the Soviet authorities. It was during the period of his emigration that his books were translated into many languages, published and widely recognized. However, with the fall of the Soviet Union, he was one of the first to return.

Yuri Mamleev, writer and philosopher © Sasha Krasnov

I wanted to do the portrait of Yuri Mamleev for a long time. Many times I tried to arrange his photo session but failed. By that time I already had a documentary portrait, which I made at a literary event in which he took part.

But I really wanted to do a one-on-one photoshoot in other technical conditions. My fellow writer Dmitry Danilov helped me to organize such a session.

Unfortunately, by that time, Mamleev was already visually impaired and had to wear special glasses all the time, which he did not take off during the shooting. They somewhat darkened the area around the eyes, which may seem strange in the photo, but I still consider it a great success that I managed to take his portrait.

// Sasha Krasnov