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Work / Photography

Photographer Kathryn Hurni’s images capture an alternative perspective of Russia

Photographer Kathryn Hunri’s series Translation sees her document Russia, while on a trip with her brother and sister-in-law, who’s from Moscow. “I did not travel to Russia with an intention in mind photographically, rather the allegory of my experience was revealed only after the act of capturing Moscow and Irkutsk,” explains Kathryn.

“Part of the reason why I photograph is to understand my surroundings. I instinctively withdraw as I acclimate to a new situation or place. However photographing provides a platform and a reason for exploration. It aids in my ability to observe, absorb and process my experiences.”

Kathryn’s images offer a different perspective of the stereotypical shots of Russia that we’ve become used to. Instead it captures buildings and people thoughtfully, by playing with light, shadow and colour which creates a diverse landscape. “I naturally gravitate to people and places that are unguarded in a sense. They offer up something willingly, but unknowingly. This is especially the case while photographing in Russia,” says Kathryn. “I had no real grasp of the language, and was traversing a foreign landscape. I had no real context to ground me, which left with me operating on instincts and impressions. This opened up the possibility to interact intuitively and naively while shooting.”

The colours are rich but not overbearing in Translation and the photographer sees it as bringing “magic and myth into the images”. While snow usually cloaks the ground from October to March, Kathryn was drawn to pastels and warmer tones to create “a light fairytale punctuated with heavy ominous frames”. “Here, colour is a double-edged sword offering up the reality in an image and in the next conflating it,” she says.

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