Dima Komarov on how “I finally found my style” and the depiction of young people in Russia
The acclaimed photographer, who recently received a Foam Talent award, tells us how he is slowly stepping towards fulfilling his dreams.
- Jyni Ong
- 6 May 2020
- Reading Time
- 4 minute read
Nearly two years ago, we had the pleasure of being one of the first platforms to cover Dima Komarov’s moving photographs. Since then, it’s been a busy year for the St Petersburg-based artist. He won the Foam Talent award, leading him to exhibit his work in prestigious international galleries, and in turn, he’s traveled the world and developed his practice along the way. “I have changed my vision of photography in terms of colours and its aesthetic filling,” he tells us of the rapidly developed archive. And now, he tries to adhere to this in a strictly defined line.
“I finally found my style,” says Dima on this realisation. “I still love to shoot my friends. My work was printed in some cool magazines. In general, I am taking small steps towards what is my dream.” Over time, he deciphered a new way of working that suited his process. Though it is often a struggle to see the financial reward come through, overall for this astute artist, what he has going is good and, on top that, he states; “I don’t give up.” In the few short years since Dima’s discovery, he’s blown up across publications both in print and online due to his candidly thoughtful depiction of young people in Russia.
Subject-wise, his work continues to beautifully capture such young people who’s culture hints to both the West and Asia’s. It’s a straddling of two cultures present in the lingering gazes of his models. In YashaLove, it was the intensity of the model’s expression which spurred Dima on to re-photograph a familiar face, that of Yasha Ivanova’s. “I don’t know why, but this photo sank into my head a lot,” he says of the impactful shoot. “Everything is beautiful in it, everything is exactly as I like it!” In the photo, her lively upside down smile is coupled with a strange pose including an arrangement of flowers. “It’s so sincere and naive, but very beautiful,” adds the photographer, recalling the shoot in a rented apartment in Tbilisi, Georgia a few months ago.
Elsewhere, Dima remembers another particularly fruitful shoot involving Liza Kutinova and an exceptional country house, just outside Moscow. A friend of Dima’s called him over to her country house to spend “a wonderful time together in nature.” It was a perfect opportunity to take pictures – a grand decorative house, full of vintage dresses, with plenty of surrounding land providing apt spots for photographic glory. After choosing a series of looks from the array of dresses on offer, Dima and his collaborators started taking pictures. A big dog called Tuta came in, interfering with the process while he wanted to play with Lisa Kutinova. “At this moment,” reminisces Dima, “Lisa began to make funny poses to the camera and the whole spirit of seriousness disappeared.”
Tuta’s company totally freed up the creative process, leaving behind a playful imprint of quirky poses that Dima then wanted to use in the photographs. “I asked her to repeat [a pose] after I took a wonderful picture with the dog which came directly out of fun and entertainment,” he adds. “I love when shooting captures a sense of ease and freedom with all my heart, as if we are just playing or walking, and the camera captures this from the outside.” In a similar vein, this attitude birthed LoveCollageVersion, an image which featured in Dima’s latest book; all about love.
He wanted the book to be an exploration of love following a recent break up. With this in mind, he tells us, “I decided to use stereotypical motifs on the theme of live, which we often see in films through which (we ourselves) go through in real life.” Publishing an open call on Instagram, Dima invited real couples in life to pose for the book. For this image in particular, the models are Varvara and Sergey, residents of Moscow where the photo was also taken. A friend of Dima’s also lent his car to also be featured in the shoot, and “everything was perfect.” Dima ordered the couple: “Come on! Kiss with your tongues!” while a bright and open atmosphere poured from above. “The photo came out real. No one played by the rules, the guys showed how they love each other, for which they gave many thanks.”
About the Author
Jyni became a staff writer in March 2019 having previously joined the team as an editorial assistant in August 2018. She graduated from The Glasgow School of Art with a degree in Communication Design in 2017 and her previous roles include Glasgow Women’s Library designer in residence and The Glasgow School of Art’s Graduate Illustrator.