I now have a quite an extensive social support network in Kiev, Moscow, and St. Petersburg, and those connections have been crucial in my gaining access to situations. I occasionally defer to the old-fashioned “drive by” method of just meeting strangers in the street and asking them to model for me. I simultaneously see my subject matter, the new East, as an extension of my own experience and something teetering on the verge of the absurd.
Brooklyn-based photographer Sasha Rudensky was born in Moscow, Russia in the late 70s. When asked why she continues to photograph in Russia and Ukraine, she has no better explanation other than being genetically imprinted to return to the visual stimuli of her childhood. She has an ongoing fascination with the contradiction, absurdity, and exaggeration of post Soviet space. This explains the theatricality of her work.
Brightness, her ongoing project of four years, refers to the yearning to be beautiful and memorable. The East manifestation of beauty is set apart by its showiness and its need for materiality, and Rudensky looks to capture that in both her interiors and individuals. She is particularly interested in the new generation that has come of age after the collapse of Soviet ideology, having grown up in a kind of vacuum without a sense of a past and only a fleeting and evolving sense of the present.
Feature Shoot Contributing Editor Julia Sabot is the Associate Photo Editor at Dwell.