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Maxim Emelyanov

The young expressionistic photographer presents a selection of abstract atmospheric images, aimed at showing human evolution and to trigger a reconnection with nature

Russian photographer and artist Maxim Emelyanov fell for the idea of a 'metaphoric connection to another world' through photography. In his work he plays with the most unusual techniques - for his project 'Crimea', he shot on medium format DS4 film that had expired 30 years ago. He then buried some of them in a local cemetery as a symbolic gesture to connect the past with the present. Emelyanov's photography is research-driven, with a focus on cultural studies and the humanities. He is currently expanding his spectrum by collaborating with international researchers in science and applying the results to art projects.

I want to show the fragility of our world, the depth and timeless beauty of nature

Dazed Digital: Your images are like looking through a forbidden key hole into the world we actually live in. What does this layering of your work mean to you?
Maxim Emelyanov:
Everything in the world streams from one source and each object regardless of time, source or place is unique but bears a particle of commonality. I'd like to find the connection between me and the world around. The photographs are findings I like to share, each one a detailed description of the whole.

DD: What is your art theory and which artists fascinate you?
Maxim Emelyanov:
My approach is to experiment with any type of image, digital or analogue. The emphasis of transformation, the creation process itself is what fascinates me. For example, Stan Brakhage surprised me with his experimental take on the medium film. Sally Mann is one of my favourite artists.  But I also follow the works of emerging Russian artists like Kiosk, Protei Temen and Kostya.

DD: What is the concept of your actual work?
Maxim Emelyanov:
The concept of my current work is the appeal to nature and its primary elements. I like to integrate my work with the elements – I want to show the fragility of our world, the depth and timeless beauty of nature. With this I would like to draw attention to many contemporary problems like over consumption, waste problems, housing and community problems... The idea behind my photographs is not only to show the human evolution but to trigger a reconnection with nature.

DD: What's your dream project?
Maxim Emelyanov:
For the last three months I lived in north Thailand and now I would like to build an organic farm there, providing detox programs using products from my own land. An inspirational place for others but also a place for me to create. My own land with my own resources, being free as a bird.

It just happens. Or not happens. I like long processes with surprising results. Jump in your hollow, my friend. Show me your waste. Hold on. Take time. You can`t waste it, just be focused. You can`t stop – all you got is now

DD: Where do you find your inspiration?
Maxim Emelyanov:
I get it from many things, it could be different all the time. Sometimes it`s music. It could be just some emotion on the face. Now I started to learn some martial arts, and I see how they describe balance in a human.

DD: Can you explain your creative process?
Maxim Emelyanov:
It just happens. Or not happens. I like long processes with surprising results. Jump in your hollow, my friend. Show me your waste. Hold on. Take time. You can`t waste it, just be focused. You can`t stop – all you got is now. Ideas grow physically very fast. Love it!

DD: What is it like in Moscow to be a young illustrator and photographer?
Maxim Emelyanov:
A lot of fun, free drinks, some cold lonely evenings in winter and a great summer!

Text by Alexandra Plesner