Saint Petersburg photographer and Offset Artist Darian Volkova refers to the stage as “Her Majesty.” As a ballet dancer herself, she’s sacrificed much to the stage. She’s seen the curtain rise and fall a thousand times, and she knows every second by heart.
Volkova began photographing her fellow ballet dancers about five years ago, making pictures unlike the ones rest of us had ever seen. Cutting beneath the veneer of the finished dance, she revealed the pulsating core of what it means to be a dancer; the endless days and nights, the hushed voices backstage, the injuries, the intoxication and the redemption of the spotlight.
She’s worked at home with the historic Mariinsky Theatre, the Mikhailovsky Theatre, the Saint Petersburg Ballet Theatre, and the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet, but she’s also toured the world and stood on its finest stages. She uses metaphors when talking and writing about ballet; she’s compared young ballerinas to fledgling birds, seasoned dancers to hardened soldiers.
Volkova has built a name for herself as the ballet photographer who understands the dancers because she is one. Though the Degas comparisons are inevitable, her images are completely devoid of the cruelty with which the French painter was known to treat his subjects. She’s so intimately acquainted with the subject, it’s as though each of her muses has divulged a secret, whispered in her ear.
Volkova’s photographs are simultaneously about the dancers themselves but the characters they play; their tragedies and triumphs- great and small- exist somewhere between real world and the one conjured onstage.
Offset is a curated collection of commercial and editorial photography and illustration from award-winning artists around the world. Photographers who wish to join the Offset artist community are welcome to apply here.