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India Herning by Amelia Hambrook

India Herning by Amelia Hambrook

I'm not sure she's real, perhaps I just imagined her. #indiapoppyrose

A post shared by amelia hambrook (@amelia_hambrook) on

It might seem strange, doing a post on a photographer and her daughter immediately after reblogging a piece featuring the same two (see previous post for link) – but after the reblog I was aimlessly drifting through Amelia‘s Instagram feed, when I had a small epiphany. It’s the usual happy tumble of four children having exquisitely-photographed fun together – from eight-year-old India to recently new-born Hugo – and I’d honestly have to say I’ve posted on a number of similar Instagram/Flickr families before: but this time I was really struck by how much this blog originates from my own lack of sisters or daughters.

I’m sure it’s a complex psychological process that I’m probably the last person to try to fathom – and I’m equally sure that it makes my pleasure in visual reproductions of young females hopelessly separate from physical reality…….except how their own mothers also sometimes perceive them. In Amelia’s post above she comments – whimsically, but with a note of true wonder:

I’m not sure she’s real, perhaps I just imagined her.”

………which reminded me of a comment to a portrait of her daughter (Imogen) by one of the Flickr mother/photographers, Angie Baxter, from August last year (here):

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My baby. My big girl. What a gift to be her mother – although somehow I think she’s just bringing me along for the ride.”

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t feel you’d get the same reaction – awe, disbelief in their almost supernatural beauty and already-formed characters – from the mothers of boys: maybe my own emotional and aesthetic responses aren’t so unrealistic after all – but would I feel the same if I’d been vaccinated by my own dose of sisters and/or daughters?

I’ll leave the question hanging – but also note how welcome a slight break this is: featuring such a seemingly-uncomplicated, domestic version of girlish sweetness amidst Evgeny Matveev‘s body-conscious, isolated teen models. This isn’t to criticise him – who knows what relationship India and Imogen will have with their own bodies and sense of self at the ages he’s portraying – and how they would present themselves to a photographer in solitary portraits in a studio, or out in the woods.

Anyway, India’s present life is spent deep in the bosom of a loving family – with the ducklings, crayfish, and wildflowers – a girl who luckily (as her mother says) loves babies and little brothers, while having a dreamy, contemplative character that enjoys poems and writing songs:

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The Instagram feed is obviously dominated by the kids, and India in particular – but tells a bitter-sweet story as it unfolds (or in fact recedes into the past – as social media tend to). Amelia is English, and about half-way through her mum died back home. She might seem to be living an idyllic existence in the countryside near Nashville – four adorable kids and a husband whom she dotes on (even writing a poem to him for their anniversary) – but the loss of her mother put the value of everything (physical as well as emotional and spiritual) in doubt. She’s a strong, gifted woman with a lot going for her, and I have no doubt she’ll get through it in time – but as always, perfection is very much the perception of the outsider: her real life is as complicated as yours or mine.

Here are Amelia and India together – two really special people:

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As a PS, I’ve also decided to remove the two sidebar galleries – their content seeming more puerile day by day. Given that the space will always be there, and may as well be used, I thought a gallery devoted to the “iconic” images I’m often banging on about would be a good substitute. Watch this…….well, that….space….

Eight with #indiapoppyrose has had me pulled back into my childhood full of strong memories of moments realizing what's fair and what's not, friendship woes, becoming more independent, planning future adventures, really thinking for myself. And so the complicated journey really begins to adulthood. She's very much like I was in some ways, but much braver. I only hope I can get through it as well as I know she will. • • • • #pixel_kids #candidchildhood #letthekids #cameramama #childhoodeveryday #magicofchildhood #childhoodunplugged #kidsforreal #thesincerestoryteller #clickinmoms #runwildmychild #mymagicalmoments #raisinggirls #stillagirl #motherhoodunplugged #childhoodmemories #unitedinmotherhood #childhoodeveryday #simplifymotherhood #follow_this_light #my_magical_moments #celebrate_childhood

A post shared by amelia hambrook (@amelia_hambrook) on

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

Maxim Vostrikov and Nadezhda (Nadia) Tsvetkova: Featuring Evi Tsvetkova, Dasha Kreys, Marta Krylova and Annie Sutormina

Maxim Vostrikov and Nadezhda (Nadia) Tsvetkova: Featuring Evi Tsvetkova, Dasha Kreys, Marta Krylova and Annie Sutormina

Все меняется, меняюсь и я) С самого начала своего творчества я отказывался снимать детей) Если и брался, то хотелось сделать действительно красивые снимки в стиле фэшн, с подобранным стилем, одеждой и мейком. И найти человека, который все это сделает, как-то не получалось. В прошлом году мне наконец удалось повстречать такого человека. Мало того, что @naditsvetkova любит работать с детьми, она ещё и видит картинку так же, как я! Это круто! Теперь мы постоянно проводим детские проекты. Надя постоянно придумывает какие-то красивости, ну а я все это дело снимаю) Так что ждём ваших чад к нам на фотосессию! П.с. Ближайшие съемки: Новосибирск – 13 марта. Москва – 8 апреля Питер – 9 апреля #востриковдети#Цветковавостриков#feore#детскаяфотосессия

A post shared by Фотограф Максим Востриков (@maximvostrikov) on

This post is another with a bit of a story behind it – and it starts with an Instagram picture and comment by Russian photographer Maxim Vostrikov (it’s a Flipagram – there are six beautiful images). His (translated) point is this:

Everything is changing, and although from the beginning of my work, I refused to take children, if and when taken, we would like to make really beautiful pictures in the fashion style, pick up style, clothing etc. And to find the person who did all this, somehow it did not work.

Last year, I was finally able to meet such a person. Not only that @naditsvetkova loves to work with children, she still sees the image in the same way as I do! That’s cool! Now we regularly conduct projects for children.”

The project that’s the subject of his post is “Fiore” (Flower) – a photoshoot carried out this Spring:

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…..and it was obviously a project shared with (and probably originated by) the stylist he mentions – Nadezhda (Nadia – or “Nadi” as she calls herself) Tsvetkova. Another one was “Born to Fly” – offered a month earlier than “Fiore“:

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…….gorgeous models of a high professional quality – and photographic values to match – for both projects.

Maxim, however, is hardly a newcomer to child modelling, no matter that he maintains he refused to do any up until just a year back – even this classic shot of Daria (Dasha) Kreys (which she seems to prefer to “Kreis” these days…..) is by him:

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…..together with other portraits of her – first the same session, then a couple of others:

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……then there are these:

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…….tho’ I have to admit that this final group could all be from relatively recent sessions: his style seems to have matured greatly since the syrupy “Princess” set with Dasha. The last portrait is of Marta Krylova – and seems to have been shot as part of the promotional material for the “Pure Beauty” project – another co-production photographed by Maxim, and undoubtedly thought up by Nadia:

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…….and again, I’m impressed by the quality of model he’s attracting – whether they like Nadia’s contribution, his personal work, pay, geographical proximity or whatever – Marta, for instance, is one of the best there is…

A lovely detail is the participation of Nadia’s daughter – six-year-old Eva-Victoria (Evi):

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……..who’s also a model (featured in the header as well – tho, as you can see by the image link below, the photographer is Nadia Sokologorskaya)……….

……leading me to a final postscript, and a final high-quality (and high-personality) model – none other than Anna (Annie) Sutormina. I don’t particularly like the two portraits, and didn’t add them to the “Fiore” gallery…….but here they are:

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There are even more shots from the two main sessions featured – particularly on Nadia’s Instagram feed (see immediately below for the link, with two models from a very different shoot to indicate what other types of work #vostrikovtsvetkova are capable of: no hothouse flowers or butterflies in sight…..).

Стефания & Карина • Портфолио • Москва : занимаем места на съемку 13 и 14 мая , Новосибирск 2-3-4 июня – все модели участвуют в показе 3 июня в ТРЦ Сан – Сити, с публикацией в @yapokupayu_nsk Стиль, организация @naditsvetkova фотограф @maximvostrikov #дети #портфолио #красивыедети #детимодели #стиль #образ #портфолио #фотосессиямосква #москва #стилистмосква #стилистмосквавыезд #индивидуальность #детскийстиль #детскамода #мск #надицветкова #цветковавостриков #vostrikovtsvetkova #nice #kids #beuty #beautiful #beautifulgirl #moscow #photoshoot #naditsvetkova

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photo @maximvostrikov imvostrikov стилист @naditsvetkova 💗

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Alina Kiryukhina by Andrey Sharapov (Dolphine/d’Elf): Featuring “Kelp” by Noxxut on DeviantArt

Alina Kiryukhina by Andrey Sharapov (Dolphine/d’Elf): Featuring “Kelp” by Noxxut on DeviantArt

The next three portraits serve as something of a defence for this post – I realise that the previous one was necessarily populated by images of the model, Gaia, showing lots of skin – perfectly appropriately: she’s a professional model, and it was an expertly (and beautifully) shot swimsuit/beachwear session. This post features a couple of fine-art photographic semi-nudes, as well as some drawn nudes/semi nudes – but my defence is that the main artist we’re dealing with is an exquisite photographer of girls’ portraits per se, and the nude studies are incidental to the overall vision (although in their own right they’re lovely portraits as well):

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…….I didn’t exactly choose these at random – but they’re more-or-less representative of the portfolio of the artist. Ok, why this particular photographer? At this point in time just because of a particular image:

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…..by a long-term DeviantArtist, Noxxut, who has been serving up slightly unsettling illustrations of barely-dressed girls for quite some time – this one (Kelp“), I happened upon by chance, and it reminded me immediately of a portrait by a photographer whom I’d always wanted to do a post on, but lacked enough definitive information – except two names: Dolphine/ d’Elf. As it turned out, reverse searching the image (that Noxxut’s artwork seems definitely to have been based on) brought me immediately to the photographer – forty-five year-old Yalta resident Andrey Sharapov:

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……and I apologise for the quality of the images – his original formats are often miniscule. Given the names Dolphine and d’Elf, and to some extent the concentration on gymnastics images, I’d in fact surmised he was a she – and also given the rather archaic formats and framing, I’d guessed they were all from some years ago – while although he started uploading onto the Gallery.ru (link above) site back in 2008, his last contact was as recent as December last year.

I’ll finish with Noxxut before continuing to Andrey’s portfolio: I really appreciate the quality that the model (Alina Kiryukhina according to his Vk.com feed) has in the main and associated shots:

……and the conceit of recognising that quality by turning her into an underwater human/alien/seacreature was clever – just why not credit the original artist (and model), or at least indicate there is an unattributable primary source? He’s done it before – this is his painting “Loli-pop” followed by Sergey Bratkov‘s iconic portrait of Sonya from his “Kids” series:

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……..and as usual lots of praise in the “Comments” section – and no acknowledgement of the actual source (or the really bad drawing of the girl’s legs). Here’s some of Noxxut’s portfolio:

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…..the last one (“Pearls Before Swine“) showing that he has the possibility of moving into Mark Ryden territory with a more hyper-real technique and less texture  – assuming he understands that ultimately there’s only so far you can go with drawing girls in ironic bikinis…….

Anyway, here’s a selection of Andrey’s work – there are a lot of gymnastics shots to choose from, so just a representative group of those. Otherwise he seems to have managed to take excellent portraits of non-professional models – some he probably met through gymnastics as he snapped his way round the Crimea – first his bigger formats:

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……..which come mainly from his Vk.com feed……..followed by an enormous gallery of (mostly) his small formats: logically I could have bumped some up – but choosing from this quality is pretty well impossible:

…….and Alina? There are other portraits of her in Andrey’s portfolio – some not so different:

……and some showing her seemingly slightly older:

photo by dolphine. http://dolphine.childphoto.ru

photo by dolphine. http://dolphine.childphoto.ru

photo by dolphine. http://dolphine.childphoto.ru

photo by dolphine. http://dolphine.childphoto.ru

photo by dolphine. http://dolphine.childphoto.ru

photo by dolphine. http://dolphine.childphoto.ru

photo by dolphine. http://dolphine.childphoto.ru

photo by dolphine. http://dolphine.childphoto.ru

photo by dolphine. http://dolphine.childphoto.ru

photo by dolphine. http://dolphine.childphoto.ru

…….but, wonderfully, some also showing her without the sociopath’s glare (only kidding 😘) when she was a little thing:

photo by dolphine. http://dolphine.childphoto.ru

photo by dolphine. http://dolphine.childphoto.ru

photo by dolphine. http://dolphine.childphoto.ru

I really like it when a photographer gets the chance to follow a girl through life’s formative stages: two final portraits – a group shot with her family, and the rather suave-looking sixteen-years-younger Andrey himself beside – what else? A dolphin:

photo by dolphine. http://dolphine.childphoto.ru

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