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Work / Photography

Turkina Faso’s cover story for Odiseo issue 12 explores our skin as a uniform

“Evoking thoughts of conformity and lack of change, but also the sensation of equality and unity, issue 12 explores the significance of patterns, and the need for belonging,” reads the editor’s letter of the latest issue of contemporary erotic magazine, Odiseo, published by Folch. Focussed around a central question: “Who are you when you are alone, and who are you with others?” – the issue is dedicated to uniformity, “shaped into a publication”.

Gracing its cover, and with a corresponding visual essay inside, is an image by Russian photographer Kati Turkina AKA Turkina Faso. Having studied a master’s in photography at London College of Fashion, Kati’s work is interested in “reality and everyday life which can turn up as something extraordinary if you look closer, or from another perspective”. In response to Odiseo’s 12th theme, Kati developed a concept focussed on skin: “I realised that uniformity, for me, is connected to skin, race, self-representation and identifying yourself in the crowd.”

Throughout the series, titled Skin Scale, Kati places her models in situations where they are comfortable in their skin, presenting it as an individual uniform. “The aim was to show skin differently, not just its colour or texture, but showing the mood of the person,” she explains. “I didn’t strive to show all existing skin types, but I did think it was interesting to get different people into one narrative, match them and try to create an example of what we see every day on the street — people of all kind, just different and beautiful.”

Soft and intimate, Kati’s portraits are interspersed with environmental shots taken on her iPhone in London, Russia and Italy. “I wanted to create a new context by putting these people into some non-existing advertising, gallery exhibition, domestic interior or poster from the tube,” she tells It’s Nice That. This mixing of real-life characters and invented narratives is typical of Kati’s work which she describes as “magical realism”. “I use things from the surroundings to explore my own life and the people around me. My main inspiration besides art is what I see occasionally every day in the cities, hear from people or simply imagine.”

The result of Kati’s approach is a series which tackles a serious issue but in a quietly beautiful way. Honest and celebratory, the series heroes Odiseo’s theme of uniformity in an unexpected manner. As well as Kati’s series, the latest issue features photographic interpretations of the theme by Loreen Hinz, Riccardo Raspa, Dario Salamone and Simone Steenberg with illustrations by Luis Mazon and Tais Sirole and is available to preorder here.

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Turkina Faso: Skin Scale

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Turkina Faso: Skin Scale

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Turkina Faso: Skin Scale

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Turkina Faso: Skin Scale

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Turkina Faso: Skin Scale

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Turkina Faso: Skin Scale

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Turkina Faso: Skin Scale

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Turkina Faso: Skin Scale

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Turkina Faso: Skin Scale

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Turkina Faso: Skin Scale