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Somewhere on the boundary between fantasy, science fiction, and surrealism, you will find the imaginative photography of Andrew Shushvalyuk and Iren Lesik. Their images are narrative in style. Each of them tells us a story: but we have to use our imagination, to help co-create the plot. Crossing the line between reality and imagination, this fantastic photography helps us see the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Andrew Shushvalyuk and Iren Lesik’s images tend to play with the notion of gender. They often feature a young couple, juxtaposed or intermingled in images that seem right out of fairy tales or science fiction scenes. The maiden in distress; the meeting of two lovers from completely separate realms and ways of life; the desolate yet majestic tower: the motifs of fantasy and fairy tale  are seamlessly integrated with contemporary elements of our every-day lives to create a fresh and original digital photography.

Yet the emotions these images evoke are far from other-worldly. They’re relevant and touching precisely because they’re the normal emotions we all feel:  longing, love, grief, sadness, hope. Transposed unto a different realm–the objects of our dreams or visions–these photographs gain depth without losing their relevance. We can still relate to them–and apply them to our ordinary lives–even though we see them as part of a completely different world, the realm of fantasy.

On their website, http://anshulesik.com/Andrew Shushvalyuk and Iren Lesik describe the manner in which they create: “We take pictures, travel, work with magazines, make up unusual designs. We’re constantly seeking and experimenting; always on the moveArt, of course, has to be relevant. We want to create such a deep meaning for each picture that it will not lose its relevance for many years…. In the ordinary, we find the extraordinary.”

Playing with gender stereotypes yet also androgynous, fantasy-based yet also real; theatrical yet not over-the-top; expressive yet open-ended to many interpretations; emotional yet understated; poetic yet mythical: to my mind, the imaginative photography of Andrew Shushvalyuk and Iren Lesik represents the best of contemporary digital photography. Those who have not seen it yet can take a look at the treasure of images on their website: http://anshulesik.com/

Claudia Moscovici, postromanticism.com