Book Review – Alexey Titarenko Photographs


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I first came across Alexey Titarenko a few years ago when he was exhibited in the Sirius Arts Center in Cobh. His photographs, many of which exhibited at that time also appear in the book “Alexey Titarenko Photographs”, stuck me immediately because of the conveyed feeling of life, movement, and the organic filling of the stark city backdrop with humanity. More than most photographers, Titarenko is able to make the city seem alive because of the people living in it. The photographs were taken in St. Petersburg (or Leningrad as it was then) from 1986 onwards – back in the Iron Curtain days. The symbols of communism are stark – giant statues of Lenin, signs depicting messages from The Party, and the overall drab greyness of the city.

And yet it is the movement of the people, the life, that stands out so much in so many of the photographs. The one above, from “The City of Shadows” series is one such photograph. Normally a photograph shows the briefest moment in time – a snapshot. The buildings in the background are such – sharp, motionless, caught in a snap. But on the steps are the blurred motions of people climbing. A greath faceless swath of people swarming upwards, only the odd hand paused on the rail indicating that this is a crowd of people at all. Titarenko has not so much stopped time, but grabbed a chunk of time and paused it, stretched in a blur of movement and mystery. Titarenko says, “In my work, I try to introduce a third dimension, that of time, which adds an element of continuity and narration… I attempt to transpose time into a purely visual language” **

What really draws me to Titarenko’s work however is the sheer beauty of it. The framing, the composition, the printing. Many of the photographs have a painterly dimension, with great swaths of movement. I would love an Alexey Titarenko print hanging on my wall

– Rory

**Artistis Credo, 9 April, 2001

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