Portraits from the Russian Tea Room
A portrait is not merely a resemblance. As soon as an emotion or a happening is translated into photography, it ceases to be a happening and becomes an opinion. Inaccuracy does not exist in photography.
All photos are accurate. None of them show the truth.
An infinite game of reflections, like in a palace of mirrors: the lens and the model look at each other, the photographer looks at the model, the model looks at the audience, the audience observes the model and the photographer through the picture. Who is the master of this game? Who is the guide and who is the guided?
The photography exhibition “Regarde-moi dans les yeux” (or “Look me in the eyes”), at the Russian Tea Room Gallery is an attempt to study the question of identity of Russian photography. Through the portraits of their comrades, the photographs exhibited here approach the issue of Russian photography like a magnifying glass, trying to answer two crucial mirroring questions: “What is a Russian portrait?” and “What does Russian photography truly look like?”
The portrait is, perhaps, the genre of photography where the photographer exposes himself the most, showing his most intimate sides. These are all photographers who choose a preference for the portrait in order to convey their art.
In the case of Evgeny Mokhorev, Oleg DOU, Marina Lapina, and Margo Ovcherenko, they choose the portrait as the solo genre of expressing themselves. By juxtaposing the images of Evgeny Mokhorev, who for 15 years has shown us the children and adolescents of St. Petersburg, with those of Margo Ovcharenko or Dasha Yastrebova, we can trace an evolution of the photographic perspective.
Between classic, modern and contemporary, the Russian artists find each other, express themselves, and deliver refined images which have very strong identities.
— Liza Fetissova