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Evgeny Matveev II: Karina, Diana and Lina (Featuring Interiors – Props)

Evgeny Matveev II: Karina, Diana and Lina (Featuring Interiors – Props)

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…….I billed this post as covering “Interiors” – but couldn’t resist another good-sized session devoted to one model: Karina. Evgeny seems to have used her just this once, and again nearing sunset – with beautifully delicate results……As always, I wonder how many girls have received injuries wandering around junkyards at the behest of photographers trying to enhance the beautiful by contrasting it with the ugly….it already looks like she cut her left knee in the process……

I’ll start the interiors with these two models in black leotards:

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……..I’m sure I’m doing a disservice to Evgeny’s original concept of the progression of the images – but there’s no definitive set that I can follow….. Anyway, the models are Diana (on the left) and Lina: possibly sisters?

As you could see from the portraits, he likes a sprinkling of suggestive props – here the dress-maker’s torso-dummy (among others):

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…….he must have a pretty cluttered studio – here are some of the objects he uses for the models to sit or recline on: old armchairs, a whatsit, trunks, an upended table – and something so horrible he covers it with an old piece of sacking…..:

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……although he does seem to have enough decent light chairs to seat the girls for a small dinner party:

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……..and somewhere in the recesses of the studio he’s even got a prop that would gain him entry to Polina Bogdanova‘s block party (from a couple of posts back):

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As well as his rhythmic gymnastics-dedicated Instagram account, I finally found a regular one (see below – and the previous post for other links) – tho’ he hasn’t bothered to upload anything substantial from his back-catalogue: however, knowing the instant gratification that the platform delivers, I wouldn’t be surprised if he started using it more than Vk.com or Facebook…….worth following, I would have thought….

Here is the romantic, flower-chomping chap (another one who announces on Vk.com that he’s “in love” 💑💑💑💑):

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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…..

Block Party: Polina Bogdanova Invites Ira Bachinskaya, Nadia Tsvetkova and Denis Esveev

Block Party: Polina Bogdanova Invites Ira Bachinskaya, Nadia Tsvetkova and Denis Esveev

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In a recent post mainly on Natasha Lishtvan, this model – nine-year-old Saint Petersburg resident Polina Bogdanova – did manage to get an equal billing in the title, but little in terms of visuals – tho’ I did mention in passing how experienced she is (even shooting in Italy). This set by Ira Bachinskaya is one of her best – dramatic and impressive – making me realise that being nearly-albino (she is very blonde, with almost whited-out eyebrows) gives photographers, stylists and MUH artists the opportunity to use her almost as a blank canvas (tho’ her colouring responds particularly well to dark outfits and sets – this being almost counter-intuitive).

Ira is interesting – she is crazily productive – having masses of children’s portraits – plus galleries of stock images (completely different subjects) using the name Ingret . Meanwhile she also posts her real passion – cats – on DeviantArt (using the same name):

I [‘ve been] photograph[ing] since 2002. [I] work with people, but my true love is animal photography.” (Ira Bachinskaya on DeviantArt)

Anyway, the unequivocal positioning of Polina on the block in her studio made me think about other sessions using the same trope – Ira using it herself on other occasions:

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…….albeit with a different backdrop (the last model being five-year-old Aurika Stepanenko). Other examples that come to mind are obvious ones like the recent set with Gaia Iafrate, where the photographer (Francesco Chiappetta) had large blocks as constant elements for the models to pose with:

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……not visually distracting, yet still giving the model a reference to stand in front of, lean on, sit on, etc. In this next shot from a post on “No Added Sugar” the blocks become (pointless) “stairs” – useful to sit on if you’re a young model holding a hefty baby….

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Here are some more:

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……as well as Aroa Renau (and friend), the last shot features one of Nick 11‘s favourite models – probably grown up and making her own children sit on blocks by now – have a look at his post here: the best are very good…. There must be hundreds more I just haven’t thought of – I’m sure big blocks are props a well-equipped photographic studio can’t do without. Here’s the rest of the shoot with Polina (and other models):

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…….you get the feeling that Ira went for the stark, abstract blocks as the main prop because of the sculptural – yet soft – asymmetric quality of the outfits (apart from the rather flowing, flowery dress in the second image) – rather like the admirably extravagant Airfish confections:

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……with the photographer/stylist having rather the same idea of placing the model in front of rigid, heavy marble steps to contrast with the equally soft, yet similarly dramatic, asymmetric shape of this dress.

Polina has naturally got a lot of normal, catalogue-standard work in her giant portfolio, but there are also some stand-out single images and sets:

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……the set featuring the oversized gingerbread-man and doughnut is one of a number that Ira has done with the stylist from the previous post  – Nadia Tsvetkova – and in fact in a comment to that post I said that I rather regretted not putting her name first. She is clearly very well connected in terms of commissions from brands and editorial sources, and is equally inventive with the ensuing sessions – and likes using Polina: here’s her contribution to the “Fiore” project with Maxim Vostrikov:

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……Nadia also using Polina for a project (Aire) with another photographer – Denis Evseev:

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…….these are relatively recent, and you can see the maturing of her beauty – also as stylists learn how to use the blondeness without just washing out her features: she really is superb in black and white – and see the header for what a touch of lipstick and foundation can do to bring out her eyes……

……..and a final gallery featuring diverse photographers:

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………and as a reward for everyone who managed to scroll down right to the bottom – here’s a short video of Polina in a photo session modelling a tutu that’s pretty well the same as the one in the last portrait above (from about 2:20) – the photographer for the shoot being Barbara Shuravina, and the video photographer obviously Anastasia Nefedova:

Полина Стилист @naditsvetkova

A post shared by Фотограф Денис Евсеев (@denisevseevphoto) on

Gaia Iafrate by Francesco Chiappetta for Balneaire: The Italian Connection

Gaia Iafrate by Francesco Chiappetta for Balneaire: The Italian Connection

🇮🇹 Adorabile Gaia! 🇺🇸 Lovely Gaia! #gaiaiafrate #childmodel #balneaire #babytalents 📸

A post shared by Baby Talents (@babytalents) on

This is the only clue I’ve managed to come up with for the model used by the Chinese Balneaire swimwear brand for most of its girls’ outfits. There is a comment by @laurandregaia: ❤ ❤ ❤ , but it’s a private account – probably belonging to her mother – so I’m going with BabyTalents‘ attribution of Gaia Iafrate.  Another Instagram link by fellow model Giorgio Cescon furnishes the photographer’s name:

#balneaire #model #modelkids #babymodel #fashionstyle #fashionkids #modabimbo Ph @francescochiappetta @gcescon @pepperkids

A post shared by Lucilla24@me.com (@giorgiocescon_official_page_) on

…….Francesco Chiappetta – and while he doesn’t sully his adult model pages with a kids’ series, the set-up for the same brand (which he calls Balneaire Beachwear) in his studio (using adult models) seems to confirm the link:

The brand image the company is creating is Italian:

Created perfectly by top design team and clothing craftsmen, concentrating on Italian fashion swimwear design, transferring luxurious life style of Italy…….BALNEAIRE is pioneer and popularizer all the time of Chinese market, recommended intensely by international three famous swimwear exhibitions…….

………Milan , a world-famous city known for perfect combination of fashion and art. Balneaire inspired from Milan Fashion Week.The design team capture the most popular trend from the fashion show.” (www.balneaire.com.cn/en/us – my emphasis)

Hence the Italian models Gaia and Giorgio (amongst others), and Francesco the Italian photographer – all shot in his studio in Milan. (He’s an extremely experienced swimwear photographer, and can’t come cheap – see his Facebook image link at the bottom showing his traditional arms-folded self-portrait pose – here with two child models who could conceivably be Gaia and Giorgio.) Frankly, this is why the sets appeal in particular: they demonstrate modelling and photographic values above that which you’d normally expect from promotions for basically cheap Chinese-produced clothing sold on Alibaba and similar online stores – I imagine it was an expensive marketing strategy, and I hope it pays off…..

Here are some examples, featuring Gaia – a girl with an understandably ironic look in her eye at times…….she models bikinis, one pieces and beach dresses – but it’s the last category where she appeals most – in fact swimsuits tend to reduce the individuality of different models. First a check pattern beach dress:

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……even her hair and make-up being prepared as carefully as for a Babiekins spread.

Next a pink dress with contrast stripes:

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…….including added semi-random text…… Then black sailor stripes on white:

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Meanwhile this example in white with a black trim and motif only has three views:

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Followed by black flowers on a white background: a bold print that’s possibly a Milan Fashion Week inspiration – Gaia looking definitely sardonic:

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…….the next two sets having a strong colour block approach – first a vibrant blue with a pale trim:

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…….and then a really eye-popping yellow and black – this time paired with another model (including one portrait with a wider, narrower format that fitted perfectly as the header):

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…….and the final beach dress set – inspired by peperoncini, it looks like:

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…….and if you compare it to the first sets, you can see how the modelling and photography seem to be getting a bit tired….here’s a transition set, where Gaia’s modelling a bikini featuring a matching skirt for extra modesty around the beach bar, poolside etc.:

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…….and finally a slideshow gallery of her swimsuit sets – as I said, not as appealing visually since the photographic and posing possibilities are rather reduced:

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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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Mother and daughter  with laptop

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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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Meg Bitton

Meg Bitton

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Aesthetically speaking, Type 1 Diabetes is easier to represent than a lot of other diseases that have more visually disturbing features. I’ve got a son who was diagnosed at thirteen – and he obviously shows no visible signs of his battle to live with it. As chronic diseases go, it’s more of a boring set of routines to maintain through life than a debilitating illness – he managed to continue playing with the youth team in a (very low-level) professional football club: until he gave up football, rather than the reverse. There are related complications concerning the eyes, heart and blood circulation – as well as hypo/hyperglycemic episodes to avoid – but control systems are infinitely better than they were just a few years ago.

I don’t resent New Jersey photographer Meg Bitton for using a cute model/patient to spread awareness – as I said a couple of posts ago, the portraits are particularly lovely, despite the message they carry, and adults being biologically programmed to protect attractive children makes the message that much more effective when represented by a pretty girl in her undies (and I’m sure she’s a real sufferer).

This isn’t meant to be a defining Meg Bitton post – for one thing she’s been doing this for far more years than most – and is really a pioneer of the girl-in-fairytale editing school that has produced an infinite number of (mainly American female) imitators. She is also pleasantly idiosyncratic – her Pinterest-style motivational/inspirational quotes could drive you mad – except she actually does believe them and try to follow them…..leading to unexpected portraits that you wouldn’t immediately associate with her style – like the “ice cream van” series:

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……not much tweaking, no visible fairy-tale princesses (tutus are just tutus, after all), and a lot of good, honest observation.

Here’s the rest of my ultimately-not-so-small selection – if I had a dollar for every girl she’s shot with her eyes shut….:

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……also unexpectedly, she’s done another series without a floaty dress in sight – on the beach:

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…..while my favourite is back to the urban fairy/dancer that she does so well:

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The MacGuffin: Music Box by Amber Bauerle for Frosted Productions

The MacGuffin: Music Box by Amber Bauerle for Frosted Productions

This is another lovely session where an accompanying video was shot – it’s overly arty, with too many dissolves and close-ups, but it does give a nice sense of the ethereal feel that Utah photographer Amber Bauerle (who for all intents and purposes is Frosted Productions) was trying to achieve:

……click on the link above to see all of the following set – she’s an amazingly good, generous blogger:

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Why a MacGuffin? It was Hitchcock‘s name for an object that drives a narrative (like the $40,000 the girl embezzles at the beginning of “Psycho”, or the eponymous “Maltese Falcon”  – ultimately irrelevant to the story), and here the music box functions as a visual focus – but we could have had the girls dancing round in the lovely Tutu du Monde outfits even without it. Adult models are allowed to lounge on couches staring into space, but kids for some reason often have to be concentrating on something: if all else fails, the ubiquitous empty white birdcage….

This an example that I commented on in the relevant post (here) – Jesse could just be standing there in a relaxed pose, but the photographer (Anna Goddard) gave her something to do with her hands, as well as helping fix the session as summer at the beach: hence the ice cream…

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The session by Amber – with the music box – was an editorial for Child Model Magazine, back in 2013, and it’s interesting to see what a long way she’s come in terms of editing techniques since those days. Here’s a selection – not a lot of MacGuffins, to be honest – just a basket, parasol and a toy rabbit….unless you count having an oversized doughnut or a tornado landing on your head…..:

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…….the little model in the swimsuits is Amber’s daughter Belle (she even has her own private Instagram account – @belle_bambina) – and she functions as Amber’s acknowledged muse……while there is just one more girl she’s worked with a couple of times that I’d like to mention…..see if you recognise the model in these gorgeous portraits:

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……none other than Kristin Markus Leible…..I wonder how she’s getting on studying theatre in Florida…..