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Ekaterina Belinskaya’s international success offers a pretty good argument that innate talent can sometimes be more important than experience. At the young age of 24, this Moscow-based artist is already one of the foremost fashion and artistic photographers in the world. In 2012, Belinskaya won the Best Photographer Award 2011 (first place in Advertising Photography Awards).
Originally trained as an ecologist, she was nevertheless drawn to the arts, particularly photography. Legendary photographers such as Tim Walker and Helmut Newton have inspired her, but her style is her own. Each image she creates begins to tell a story, often staged as a fairy tale, that the viewers continue in their own imaginations. As is the case with most fairy tales, there’s both beauty and danger in her photos.
Belinskaya’s images usually feature strickingly beautiful women, in period costumes often reminiscent of the Gothic era, yet so tastefully staged and designed that they suggest a timeless elegance. As is apparent in the Raven series, the symbols of danger create the tension and the drama in the image. The beautiful woman is not depicted, however, in a stereotypical fashion as a victim that needs to be saved by a courageous prince. She’s a complex and dual creature: feminine, beautiful and strong, yet containing within herself the danger and lure of the bird of prey beside her.
The Raven series alludes to Edgar Allan Poe’s famous narrative poem by the same name, which was first published in 1845. More intricate and complex than a fairy tale–as is, in fact, Ekaterina Belinskaya’s photography itself–this symbolist poem traces a man’s gradual fall into madness as he converses with a raven about the loss of his lover, Leonore. Rather than consoling him, the bird of prey incites his despondency in various ways, including by repeating the word “Nevermore,” to reinforce the idea that he’s separated forever from the woman he loves.
While Belinskaya’s (poe)tic photography is even more open-ended in possible interpretations than Poe’s poem, it evokes similar feelings: the darkness of danger embodied by the bird of prey and the stark, somber surroundings; an atmosphere that combines great beauty and implicit menace, which is subtle and rich enough that it can’t be stereotyped as “Gothic” or any other genre, for that matter.
Each of Belinskaya’s series of images tantalizes not only the senses but also the imagination. I believe that, like the artists who inspired her, this young photographer will be a legend in her field. You can view more of Ekaterina Belinskaya’s art on her website, below:
Claudia Moscovici, postromanticism.com