Boris Savelev was born in Czernowitz, Ukraine in 1947 and moved to Moscow in 1966. He graduated from the Institute of Aeronautics and after developing an interest in photography in 1963, he joined the Moscow Photography Club Novator in 1970, going on to start his career as a photographer in his home country of Ukraine. From 1982, Savelev worked on a freelance basis for publishing houses in the USSR and abroad. After becoming a full time photographer in the early 1980s, Savelev went on to have numerous exhibitions worldwide. He first came to the attention of the Western art world with the publication of Secret City by Thames and Hudson in 1988. This photobook established Savelevs' reputation as one of the most serious artists of a new generation of photographers emerging from the former Sovient Union.



- The Guardian

In 1986, at the start of Perestroika (rebuilding), Thomas Neurath, the director of Thames and Hudson visited Moscow looking for 'unofficial' artists. He found and picked Savelev and in 1988, the monograph Secret City was published. This was the first book published in the West, by an unauthenticated photographer living in the Soviet Union. Up until 1988, all of the works that Savelev had exhibited were black and white prints, but he had been experimenting with colour photography since the early 1980s. When producing Secret City, Thames and Hudson selected a group of these colour photographs which had been taken using Orwachrome film. However, the poor quality of the colour and the additional problems of the lithographic reproduction failed to capture the complexity and density that the artist wanted to achieve. In 1987, he discovered Kodachrome film and all his colour work taken on film since that time has used Kodachrome. In the years following its publication most of Savelev's work has been an enquiry into colour photography. 
Savelev began to use digital cameras in 2000, particularly enjoying working with the Leica Digilux 1, which bears similarities to film Kodachrome which he used during his analogue era. Savelev has not worked in Russia for over 12 years, and since 2022 has been living in exile in Spain to escape the conflict in Ukraine. Savelev works in collaboration with Factum Arte, developing his photographs with a digital method, creating multilayered prints on various background materials. Savelev uses his rich archive of film and digital photography to continue to sculpt his biography with his pictures. His photographs ark has earned him a place in major international collections worldwide, among them, the Corcoran Galley of Art in Washington D.C., the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart, the Saarland Museum in Saarbrücken, Germany, the New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe. 

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