“About three years ago, I met Sasha at a Starbucks in Brighton Beach while I was working for a location scout,” Fumi tells It’s Nice That. “He was 16 and I wanted to photograph him for my book Untitled Youth, which was published in 2016.” However, after visiting the teen at his Russian family home to get an approval from his parents, the eccentric characters she met inspired her to set up a family shoot.
Fumi pitched the idea to stylist Victoria Sekrier and, after receiving a green light from 10 Men magazine, the photographer returned to Sasha and his family to get to know them better. On one occasion, she ended up eating dinner — beef tongue, more specifically — with his grandmother and taking vodka shots with his grandfather. By the end of the night, the concept behind the shoot was expanded to included Sasha’s grandparents too.
In a similar vein to her previous series, Heart of Dixie, Fumi’s 10 Men photographs shine a light on the distinctly unique personalities of the series’ protagonists. The expert shot of Sasha’s father on the beach in a Karate pose, for example, was inspired by his two great passions; swimming all seasons round and martial arts. The affectionate photograph of Alex, Sasha’s mother, was executed to reflect her love of birds, while the portrait of Daniel, Sasha’s brother, tenderly mirrors the young romance with his Ukrainian girlfriend. Fumi sets the shot of Sasha’s grandparents in the middle of a cross-roads to signify their dynamic vitality, and the integral role they play in Sasha’s life. Through the 10 Men images, Fumi captures a compelling and rounded family portrait that simultaneously displays each character’s personal quirks.
“I really like the Brighton Beach culture,” Fumi says. “The locations I chose were very telling of the local culture. The boardwalk is one of my favourite spots as you get to observe the amazing people who hang out there. I love the park, where the Russian community go to gamble, and I loved the music store, where they only sell Russian music. Brighton Beach has a totally different culture from most other areas in New York. Some people still live Soviet lives, which inspires me a lot. It’s this sort of thing that makes me love New York.”
In Heart of Dixie, Fumi celebrated a family that lived on her street. Although similarly intimate in both style and subject matter, the relationship between sitter and camera-holder in the 10 Men series is distinctly different. “I wanted to make sure that I didn’t get to know them too well to shoot the story. While I didn’t want to step into their life too much, I made sure to show things that were too personal at the same time. I think this balance was very important.”
- “Fear and desire for connection and the blocks to it”: artist Martine Syms on her exhibition Grand Calme
- Iggy Ldn captures beauty, power and pain in his short film, Velvet
- Art Bank Taiwan joins London Design Biennale this week, exploring cultural identity through political and social commentary
- Tiziana Jill Beck explores the identity of anonymous travellers through masks
- The new issue of Indoek brings America's oldest city to life
- Master of plasticine Kate Isobel Scott is back with a new animation
- Uber gets another new logo, gives you something to make small talk about this weekend
- “Go, go, go”: how DIA messed with design theory, only to improve it
- Type designer Kia Tasbihgou on how “knowing cool designers and nice fonts isn’t enough”
- Watch the trailer for the Don't Hug Me I'm Scared, the television show
- V&A curator Marie Foulston wants us to look at video games through the lens of design
- You know that great feeling of popping a spot? You'll get that from Sophie Koko Gate's new animation