Nikolay Bakharev's Amateurs and Lovers
Photographer Nikolay Bakharev was an orphan (his parents died when he was four) who worked as a mechanic until he developed his profession as a self-trained photographer. He grew up in East Russia near Mongolia, and still lives in Siberia. His work was featured in the "Ostalgia" exhibition in the summer of 2011 at the New Museum in New York which gathered art from Eastern European countries with a curious nostalgia for a painful past. As a critic in the Economist said: "All of this art is political, by the simple act of its creation."
Bakharev's models are the people among whom he lives and his depictions can be divided into two distinct bodies of work: private and public. The private images are generally women or couples photographed in their homes, and the public are couples and larger groups in swimsuits photographed in the woods. During the 60s and 70s it was illegal to photograph nudes so the swimmers provided a surrogate. Taking on the role of "beach photographer" enabled Bakharev to both earn a living and depict his subjects in a much more revealing way than was officially allowed.
Bakharev carefully arranges his subjects into compelling poses in which the physical contact is erotically charged, and at the same time displays vulnerability and elegance.
Bakharev's exhibition The People of Town N is on display at Julie Saul Gallery in NYC through August 21st, 2015