Alexey Titarenko


City of Shadows (1991-1994)

Alexey Titarenko is a photojournalim/Cinematic and Photographic Arts photographer born in Russia in 1962, he started photographing in 1971, by 1978 he graduated and finished his Masters degree in 1983.

Postdissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 inspired his invigorated appoach to make the series which Titarenko relates to the human condition of fellow Russian people, suffering from the collapsed economy. He wanted to capture the sorrow they withstood depicting the hardship of this problematic time. He wanted to draw parallels between the past and the comtempory using strong metaphors enhanced by several minute long exposures. Titarenko found street photography a device for propaganda approved only by censors so he introduced a new camera movement which became the norms of street photography typified in urban landscapes. He was passionate about his camera’s ability to create art.

Whilst being inspired by classical music Titarenko said “I was walking on the street, absorbing what’s happening, passing by a subway station I see a sea – this ocean of desperate people trying to get inside”. The mass of ghosting figrues almost seems poetic but also dramatic in aesthetic, power and vision. I feel that this work is suggestive of a questiable void in humanity. It accentuates the lack of empathy and highlights the self presence amongst others, where we feel disconnected and distant conveying a sense of isolationism. He felt very empowered to use his photographic resources to create this series to document the struggles that he and many others encounterd..

This work inspires me to make a short series to represent a multitude of feelings. I want to capture the deep haze, ghostly in presence. I want my work to foreshadow the deeper depths beneath what I felt psychologically and physically. Much like this photograph, I would also like to use long exposures to pick up all the movement for an extended time, accentuating how the light shifts and changes through the shadows. My short series shall be different, as I will be shooting only at night with an accent light to shift into the undulations of all the dimensions of the blankets, moving both the light and blanket universally. I would also like to shoot this series potentially using film, in order to have the most eerie, mystical detail, as I will potentially lose a significant amount detail due to the transfer of the prints. The rationale is that I will draw the audience in via several avenues. This process of using film will be part of my experimental process but embracing a new approach, which I hope, will be fruitful. The analogue process would be a base point to try out, as I feel heavily influenced by Titarenko, as he uses film in his captures. Titarenko offers a new movement in street photography; he also promotes a story of sorrow. I would like to combine both elements into my work, telling my story and creating new scenery in the creative field of photography, I wish to utilise the vernacular by placing mundane object but displaying them with added meanings, therefore, channelling the use of hybridity.

Sources –

Photographer Transforms Crowds into Shadows and Black and White into Color

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