Wednesday 4/27/2005

Boris Mikhailov

Mikhailov's career as a photographer officially began in the late 1960s when he was fired from his job as a mechanical engineer for having left negatives of nude women in the company's darkroom. Living under political censure, Mikhailov was never trained as a photographer but used the medium as a forum for free exchange which revealed controversial subject matter--such as nudity or the dire poverty that he and others witnessed throughout the neighborhoods of the Ukraine. While using documentary realism to challenge the discrepancy between what was seen and what was practiced politically by the Soviet regime, Mikhailov also used other techniques, such as collage, to create more sardonic depictions that utilized irony to break down the process of looking into the elements of perception--the arrangement of objects with color, contrast and text.

Despite political restriction, Mikhailov pursued his use of the mundane, which deliberately undervalued the achievements of Soviet Communism, in order to suggest that the practice of photography is indeed ideological as soon as political censorship is imposed upon the medium.

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