Tag: 500px.com

Evgeny Matveev I: Sonia and Sasha

Evgeny Matveev I: Sonia and Sasha

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The run of Russian photographers – with just one Italian intruder in the previous six posts (considering Andrey Sharapov as Russian rather than Ukrainian) – is extraordinary: and now here’s another. Evgeny Matveev is a forty-six year-old from Saint Petersburg, and as well as the approximate age, has a lot in common with Andrey: they both specialise in gymnastics/dance, and are consummate, almost obsessive, photographers of girls.

Whether it comes from an understanding of the physical form via the two activities, I don’t know – but they share an appreciation for the whole body – legs, arms, backs – with consequently relatively less attention to headshots and clothing. Evgeny is formidably prolific – with more than 9,500 images on Vk.com alone, so it’s going to take a few posts to cover his output. I’m starting with the model in the opening portrait – Sonia – whose crowning glory is obviously her hair. First this set, which is one of the few named ones featuring non-gymnastics/dance sessions that he has on Vk.com:

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The next set (including the header) I had to put together myself – for obvious reasons my file is entitled “Sonia – Hair” – shot a year later at sunset on the beach:

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…….the emphasis on Sonia’s hair being mirrored in portraits he’s taken of another model – seemingly called Sasha – with hair more wavy than Sonia’s red mane:

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…….as well as Vk.com, Evgeny has galleries on Photosight.ru, 500px.com, and Facebook (see image link) – including dipping a seven-image sized toe in Flickr. As offerings to a more general public, he has a (rather underwhelming) home site, and is is even featured briefly on Fkids.ru – and has started an Instagram account dedicated just to rhythmic gymnastics (see image link below). The next post on him will feature interiors – and if you glance through his portfolio, you’ll see that big choices will have to be made…..

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Maria (Masha) Tsishchanka by Bozhena Puchko, Sergey Piltnik and Ruslan Huzau

Maria (Masha) Tsishchanka by Bozhena Puchko, Sergey Piltnik and Ruslan Huzau

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If you look at the model featured in the header portrait – lying on a couch with a cheesy grin – you’d think she was just another pretty girl, probably posing for a stock image. You’d be right – but two excellent fine-art photographers have seen something else. The two images above are by the photographer from the previous post – Bozhena Puchko (one being the header/teaser) – her comment for the first image on Facebook being “Amazing Masha” (see image-link below), while on Instagram her comment for the second image is: “Absolutely new – my stunning [new] face“. The model is Maria Tsishchanka – who uses the diminutive Masha, calling herself Masha Tsi for short – but she isn’t really a new face: and this is where I ‘fess up to a misattribution…..

The other fine art photographer who has used her as a model is Sergey Piltnik – and probably most beautifully in these two portraits:

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…….which I put in a gallery of portraits of Polinka Karpenko here, and then repeated the error comprehensively here. I could blame Sergey for not being Ryan Mills and dutifully naming every model and location in every published shot – but I know he doesn’t, and just assumed they were Polinka from the context near portraits of her on his 500px.com gallery. And looking at them now – Masha doesn’t really look that much like Polinka anyway……tho’ the style certainly makes attribution harder – look at this shot of Polinka:

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……still, it does give me a good excuse for dedicating a post to Masha – since while it’s anything but an insult to be confused with Polinka, it’s always good to have your own qualities recognised……..first by Sergey:

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…….the last portrait being interesting, since on his Ok.ru feed, one of his friends asks where in Gomel (Belarus – Sergey and Polinka’s hometown) it was taken – the reply being near the railway station: which means that Masha either lives in Gomel (or nearby) or goes there for what seem to be numerous sessions (Sergey always hashtags his photos with #gomel) – here’s another one outside the railway station:

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As well as 500px.com and Ok.ru, Sergey is on a number of sites – see below for Instagram, then Photosight.ru, and finally Vk.com.

Bozhena, on the other hand, is a Moscow resident – but has shot Polinka in the past, and now Masha……the driving distance between the two cities being about 400 miles……:

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…….as you can see from the first portrait and the image link below, Bozhena is starting a new project she calls “The Queen” – and being an enthusiastic promoter of her wares, is already calling it “stunning“……..if she keeps Masha as the lead model, there’s at least a good chance….

The third photographer in the title is Ruslan Huzau – in fact the stock image provider behind my header – and the creator of a lot of the images on Masha’s own Instagram feed. He uses his own name or Aletia on the various sites where he sells his stock (here and here, for example) – and again I don’t know if he’s a Gomel resident. Here are a few of his portraits – obviously shot more for their illustrative than artistic qualities, but perhaps giving a better idea of Masha’s real personality, when she isn’t being the serious, arty model:

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…….and one last portrait from her social media feed – she doesn’t name the photographer, and I’m not going to hazard a guess – maybe I’ve learned my lesson….. 😚😚😚😚😚

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Svetlana Kvashina (II)

Svetlana Kvashina (II)

I previously posted one complete session by this young (thirty-six next Christmas Day) Vladivostok photographer – Svetlana Kvashina – a lovely set featuring her daughter Polina and her baby son, as the Huntress Diana and a little angel (a nice mingling of Roman and Christian mythology):

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_________________13349_900 …..and I rather dismissed her other sets as being full of “over-sugary compositions, where childhood is one long spring or summer day where everyone wears garlands of flowers in their hair“…..which is true, but as she disarmingly states:

“……I am a children’s and family photographer. In my work my main aim and desire is to combine [the] commercial part of it and the artistic realization. I’ll be very pleased if viewing my gallery brings you the best emotions.” (500px.com)

The commercial aim is clear – and that her potential customers’ taste in children’s portraiture is almost as sentimental and unrealistic as that portrayed in Victorian postcards – but also that the artistic realisation she mentions is just as well-achieved, particularly with these water-based sets (her main site is here):

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…..featuring Polina and at least one other model. The light coming off the water is used really effectively in rendering the girls as river-sprites…..

Then there are some charmingly bucolic images:

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…..where you can tell she’s celebrating Polina’s youth and beauty as much as creating sellable portraits.

This final group consists of portraits that veer from charming to rather saccharine:

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…….the last three showing how good she is with girl/little boy – probably all being Polina and her brother – see the header as well for possibly the best portrait of her entire portfolio.

There is just one image to finish with (almost) – a bit of a departure for her – relying less on charm, while introducing a new model and a little drama:

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…..and I think she needs to be brave enough to come out of her comfort zone to create portraits like this with a little more edge……tho’ I realise fine-art is less likely to pay the bills…

“Almost”?……Just two more shots – Polina as little more than a baby, and Svetlana with her two muses:

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…..and if you look through her Facebook feed (see below), you’ll see from the family snaps that Polina is going to look exactly like her mother when she grows up…..not a bad thing to look forward to…..

You Spin Me Right Round……Vladimir Serov

You Spin Me Right Round……Vladimir Serov

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What an exquisite portrait this is: everything perfect – model, pose, composition, light, focus, muted colour…… The artist/photographer is another young Russian (after Diana Adrianova yesterday), Vladimir Serov – and he has a penchant for upside-down shots:

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…..and it could even be the same model in a couple of them…

The reason I thought of him at this moment is because he’s posted some new images on Flickr in the last couple of days, including these:

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….as usual even the simplest pose having a special something to make you pause…

Here’s some of his portfolio:

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He graduated from Moscow’s Higher Academic School of Graphic Design in 2010, but took his lower degree from an Arts institution in Nizhny Tagil – a fascinating place right on the virtual border between Europe and Asia – presumably residing in the city or region at the time. He’s most visible on Flickr and Facebook (image-links below), DeviantArt –  where he has four or five defunct links to stock-image sites – and 500px. His Flickr photostream is well worth following – he’s the type of guy who can do nothing for months, and then post a masterpiece……here he is:

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Mark Olich: The Vaganova Academy at the Mariinsky Theatre, Saint Petersburg

Mark Olich: The Vaganova Academy at the Mariinsky Theatre, Saint Petersburg

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This is the beautiful shot that usually gets posted – the Vaganova Academy (the extremely venerable associate ballet school of the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg – it’s the ex-Imperial Ballet School) during a performance of “Sleeping Beauty”. The theatre’s dedicated photographer, Mark Olich, has a couple more on Instagram (see image link below):

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……and this seems to have been the same performance:

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I’d almost given up hope of finding a solid attribution, having gone through just his 500px and Facebook accounts – his main Vk.com gallery has about nine thousand images: I’d managed about half, before switching to Instagram. Mark is young (an ex-dancer himself), married to Elena (Lena), and has an impish little daughter called Masha, who seems to be the Mariinsky Theatre mascot (see the Facebook image link for a shot by Elena featuring husband and daughter)- where Mark is the official photographer for the ballet company – the building is also home to opera and theatre companies. Going through his various galleries I picked out some images that relate to Masha and the younger girls associated with the Vaganova Ballet Academy– first Masha (and the first two are when she was so young she brought her teddy to practice and rehearsals):

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…..and my two favourites:

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…..lucky girl: you just hope she grows up tall and slim – not being a dancer doesn’t seem to be even a possibility….but whatever happens, she seems to be having a magical childhood.

Here are some of the other girls, first in school and during the selection process:

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……then during rehearsals and performances:

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As ever, I’ve got a couple of my own favourites:

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Clearly Mark is best known for his shots of the ballerinas from the Corps de Ballet – click on my links if you’re interested. Here are a couple of tasters:

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#ballet #theatre #markolich #mariinsky #backstage #vaganovaballetacademy @mariinsky @vaganova_academy

A post shared by Mark Olich (@markolich) on

Dany Desneux (Danywendy)

Dany Desneux (Danywendy)

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This intriguing set was my introduction to French photographer Dany Desneux, from the Paris suburb of Suresnes (Boulevard Aristide Briand, to be precise). She has an intimate Facebook account here, with silly self-portraits and all the usual personal stuff, but the bulk of her work is on a different account, L’Oeil de Dany, with an image link below. She doesn’t come from the fulsome school of female photographers, with lots of “love this girl!” gushing: she’s a serious art photographer with girls’ portraits and treatments as one of her predominant themes – tho’ she isn’t ashamed to slip in the occasional wedding.

This next set gives you a good idea of how she can achieve the difficult attractive/thought-provoking combination:

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This set she calls “La Bohème”:

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The “Danywendy” moniker is the one she uses on 500px and Flickr (image-link below), but I haven’t seen an explanation why she uses it. Here’s a mini-bio:

Born in 1975, Dany Desneux is a French photographer.

This specialist in childhood is fascinated by the beauty and sensuality of this age of life. Dany Desneux sees herself as an instinctive photographer, a quality that she undoubtedly shares with her young models, girls and boys.

Most of the time, these are her own children with whom she invents situations, disguises in complete freedom on both sides. It is enough, she says, to be reactive to children who play the game with sincerity and take you away because, as everyone knows, the truth comes out of the mouths of children.” (Artsper.com)

….interesting that the models are sometimes her own children – she does use a couple of them quite often – as in the “La Bohème” set – here’s another example, but with a different girl:

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….and two featuring plaits:

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…..daughters or not, she has some lovely models, as always in a variety of imaginative treatments – the models in fact often being the only unifying elements in the portraits:

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…..and some longer shots:

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She really has no one set style, and clearly prefers the chance to experiment over a recognisable Desneux “brand” – as in Magda Berny for example – happily switching from b&w to colour, ‘shopped to in-camera, heavily posed and composed to “au naturel”: all-in-all a refreshingly unpredictable artist. To finish, here’s a set that has at least one unifying element: a gorgeous red dress – and I’ll bet that’s a daughter wearing it, too:

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Nastya/Lisa and Nika by Oksana Bokatova

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….two slightly different tweakings of the same image – two girls called Nastya (or possibly Lisa – Flickr names her thus, or Anastasia (Nastya in full) as on DeviantArt) and Nika. The photographer is from Tashkent in Uzbekistan: Oksana Bokatova, and even tho’ it’s from four years ago, Tumblr’s just caught up with it. I’m always interested in how photographers see their work by the different variants they put out: on Facebook Oksana has posted the latter (see below), which has a little less light – seeming a bit warmer and more intimate – and is an 800 x 800 square, whereas the former is 1199 x 800.

She has an album dedicated to the two models (named as Nastya and Nika) on Facebook – here are the other images:

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…..and it’s quite hard to tell their age – in some they seem younger, in some older. As far as portraits of girls (as opposed to young women) go, Oksana doesn’t have many beside these two – and some might even be still them – here’s my round-up:

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….including a winner of one of the multiplying online photographic awards:

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…..which is Nika in a red dress with reasonably good lighting – pleasant, but not much more…..

Her style tends to go for Rembrandt-esque painterly darkness in a lot of the portraits, in order to give them artistic weight – and sometimes over-fanciful ‘shopped tableaux following the Russian florid/sentimental school of children’s photography: but it’s still impressive for a relatively underdeveloped market like Uzbekistan – and the two girls really have presence. Oksana does a lot of restrained glamour photography, and they could be very successful at this once they get over eighteen.

Here’s Oksana enjoying the Uzbek countryside in Spring:

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