Monday, August 30, 2010

Icy dreams.

Fashion is taking a new turn, embracing new technologies and leaving less room for imperfection, authenticity and escapism than ever. Thankfully, there are a few photographers left who don't let themselves dragged into that hunt for modernism, and continue to evoke imagination within their work... Yelena Yemchuk can claim to be among them. I wouldn't even call her an image maker ; dream maker would be more suitable. Not only does she squeeze something emotional and melancholy out of the models she photographed, but she also captures landscapes at their best, bringing out what makes them unique and inherent to a country.

When in the right hands, fashion can go beyond fashion ; Steven Meisel is renowned for trying - and often achieving - to push the boundaries of fashion photography... Yelena Yemchuk is more discreet (read : underrated) than him ; she doesn't get her work published every month in one of the worthiest publication around ; her name doesn't get shouted out by the most influential people in the industry ; but she's nearly as deserving as the so-called Master, for almost each image of hers pays tribute to Nordic and Eastern European countries and therefore, goes beyond sheer fashion photography.

When staring at some shots she lensed, you can take a glimpse of what Scandinavia, Russia, Eastern Europe look like (and if you happen to be as drawn to these lands as I am, then you must be as elated with her work as I am.). Not that the model becomes secondary ; quite the opposite, she complements the peacefulness portrayed and adds to the overall nostalgia. Yes, pretty much every story the Ukrainian photographer is involved in has a nostalgic feeling to it, and gives me the impression she is trying, through her imagery, to bring her early days back to life ; while some would write an autobiography, she takes pictures of landscapes she once may have stepped onto... and I daresay that's exactly why her work radiates humanity ; it's the testimony of a certain will not to forget, will intrinsic to mankind, which prevents her photography from looking distanced and cold, regardless the scenery and colors.

Yet again, fashion (I am aware this word occurs a lot throughout this article, but after all it's what it all comes down to) and its wonders helped me find a way to fight down the mournful and repetitive days ahead, the best way I could ever find since it reconciles my passion for both photography and travelling. I can't help feeling a twinge of regret when I think that all this time I digitally collected Yelena's pictures without taking notice of her name so as to look up further work of hers, though. Sadly, I tended not to pay attention to a photographer if a lot of hype didn't surround him... but I'll remedy this from now on.

Source : via ASF @ tFS ; scanned by ASF @ tFS ; via ASF @ tFS


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