Dmitri Vrubel is a Berlin-based artist of Russian descent famous for his masterpiece My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love. 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.

Dmitri Vrubel, artist, featured portrait © Sasha Krasnov Photography

In 2010, I shot a series of photographs featuring contemporary artists. And I agreed with the Marat Guelman Gallery that from time to time I would use it as a shooting site. There was everything necessary for this — a separate room, white walls, and the flashlight I brought with me. And the place itself is the most ideologically close and comfortable for these purposes. But most importantly, many artists were regulars there, with some of them coming to the gallery for matters related to the exhibition process.

I was just finishing shooting The Blue Noses Group for my project, and I had 5 frames left when Dmitri Vrubel came into the gallery and asked what was going on here.

I explained to him my concept. And although 5 frames is a very small number because there is always a possibility of a technical failure, so you need to have some reserves in order to feel more confident, but I decided to try and invited him to join us.

Dmitri Vrubel, artist. Portrait © Sasha Krasnov Photography

As a result, out of five frames, one depicted Dmitri Vrubel with closed eyes, and two more clearly did not fit the desired outcome. Thus, I had two frames left, from which I had to choose one. I immediately recalled a story about how Richard Avedon selected a portrait of beekeeper Ronald Fischer for the In the American West series.

In one interview, he said that he shot a lot of frames, but during the selection process there were only two images left between which he made a choice. And in the end, he opted for the shot where it was not visible that the beekeeper was really in pain because the insects kept biting him and he had many bee stings on his body.

I put two of my remaining frames next to each other and made my choice. But already when I was preparing the material for publication on my website, I decided to use both portraits.

From one of them, I made a frame for the featured image. In this capacity, I like his slightly surprised and wild look, although it is not very natural. And the second image, with a neutral, but slightly ironic look, I used as the main portrait.


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© Sasha Krasnov