With fashion photography on the rise globally, bursting with waves of studio and street-style photographers, it is at times easy to lose track of those talents, who are shaping the industry or are the most promising newcomers today. Russian and Ukrainian photographers do not yet possess the same widely acknowledged reputation as Mario Testino or Steven Meisel. but they are carving their own paths and building portfolios with unique aesthetics that will surely distinguish them in the future.
Danil Golovkin, a Moscow-based fashion photographer, is probably the most prominent talent working with Vogue Russia, Harper’s Bazaar, GQ and L’Officiel. With a background in graphic design, he worked first as a successful art director for an advertisement agency before embarking on an equally successful career in photography. Golovkin remains in high demand for his strong sense of lighting, portraiture skills and, above all, an ability to create striking images.
An equally impressive portfolio belongs to young, London-based photographer, Nikolay Biryukov, who has already worked with Wonderland, Elle and Tatler, amongst others. Like Golovkin, Biryukov graduated with a degree in Graphic Design and worked as an art director for a fashion publication before making the decision to pursue MA studies in Photography in London. He is known for his distinctive style which merges simplicity with sensuality, playing with graphic silhouettes and ideas of modern femininity.
Photographer Lev Efimov started his career by taking photographs of his friends, swiftly moving onto collaborations with local model agencies in his native city of Pskov and, finally, moving to Moscow in pursuit of its vast opportunities. Today Efimov frequently works on editorials for L’Officiel, Elle and Forbes and shows no sign of stopping in his artistic and commercial endeavors.
At the forefront of a new wave of female fashion photographers stands none other than Ukrainian, Cate Underwood, a model, photographer and a young mother, all at the tender age of twenty two. Underwood is already an accomplished photographer with clients such as Vogue Ukraine and Harper’s Bazaar. Rejecting the usual model-actress-stylist route, she started shooting first and only then considered modelling as an adjacent occupation. She found success equally behind, and in front of, the camera. Her minimalist photographic style favours simplicity, perfection of shape and a raw sense of being, making Underwood a go-to photographer for innovative editorials.
Model-turned-photographer Nicole Demeshik honed her skills working with fellow models in agencies in Moscow, steadily building a portfolio that secured attention of magazines like Harper’s Bazaar, Elle and Glamour. Her way of depicting sensuality and relaxed otherness firmly puts Demeshik on the list of up-and-coming photographers of today.
The list of talented Russian and Ukrainian photographers does not end here, for the people mentioned represent but a fraction of creative practitioners working today. If anything, they are a promise of groundbreaking and innovative fashion photography that is yet to come from Russia and the Ukraine.Evgenia Dorofeeva is a photographer, fashion writer and an avid traveller based in London. Her love of fashion comes from childhood spent in a grandmother’s atelier, while writing is a hobby that is bound to become a full-time occupation. Evgenia’s dream is to create a worthy home collection of evening dresses – story-tellers, performers and fairy godmothers in their own right.