Lyudmila Zinchenko

Lyudmila Zinchenko (born 1964): Russian photographer, curator, lecturer. Graduated from the Moscow Technical College of Topography and worked as a press photographer (1980s). Won the Silver Camera Grand Prix (2002, 2006) and nominated for the Kandinsky Prize (2011). Teaches at the Alexander Rodchenko School of Photography and Multimedia in Moscow.
Born: 1964, Peno (Tver Region)

Lyudmila Zinchenko is a photographer, curator and lecturer. She was born in 1964 in the small town of Peno in Kalinin (now Tver) Region. After graduating from the Moscow Technical College of Topography, she worked in Siberia in the 1980s. The artist started working as a press photographer for Zvezda in Peno (1987) and Tverskaya zhizn in Tver (1990), going on to publish works in Newsweek, Courrier International, Libération and Le Figaro. Zinchenko has exhibited since 2002 and twice won the Silver Camera Grand Prix (2002, 2006). In 2011, she was nominated for the Kandinsky Prize. Lyudmila Zinchenko currently lives and works in Moscow, where she teaches at the Alexander Rodchenko School of Photography and Multimedia.

In the sense of formal quests, Lyudmila Zinchenko is a subtle and sensual colourist. Notwithstanding the popular preconception that “Russian photography does not work with colour,” it is colour that arranges the frames in her works. Light, mobile and simultaneously active, the colour is capable of moving into unnatural hues – very much like how the Impressionists positioned pure colours alongside each other, without mixing them on the palette. Visible reality is transferred into the density of the air and the light refracted by it. It might even be said that Zinchenko is more impressionistic than the Impressionists themselves – not only in the sense of her work with colour, but also from a purely technical point of view.

In every photograph, there is an element of control by the artist and an element of chance. This correlation varies, depending on the conditions, but some photographic techniques presuppose the predomination of the latter over the former. Examples are the camera obscuraandthe pinhole camera (an apparatus without a lens, the role of which is performed by a small aperture). Such cameras contribute their own special features – long exposures and intuitive framing.

Working with an undistorted, natural stream of light, Lyudmila Zinchenko constructs her own photographic philosophy. She addresses reality using an instrument that is cardinally unmanageable and so does not allow the statement to be completely controlled, yet adds to it emotionality, expressiveness and straightforwardness.

Despite the technical specifics, Lyudmila Zinchenko does not translate this approach into a device. Allied with the camera obscura, she creates something very personal, intimate and ephemeral. Cold analysis is alien to her. Besides colour experiments – often drawing parallels with the works of Gueorgui Pinkhassov of Magnum Photos – Zinchenko continues the humanist photographic tradition, alongside such senior masters as Valery Schekoldin and Nistratov and Klimov from the younger generation.

Lyudmila Zinchenko explains: “The specific nature of the camera obscura is long exposures, lasting twenty to thirty seconds, so the camera is unable to record anything moving quickly. Because of this, it cuts out the transient, the fleeting. And so what remains on the film, going by the magical name of the ‘photosensitive surface,’ is the most important thing – the image.”

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