Boris Savelev

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. Since 1982, he has worked on a freelance basis for publishing houses in the USSR and abroad. Ever since becoming a full time photographer in the early 1980s, Savelev has had numerous exhibitions worldwide. He is regarded as one of the most important and well-known photographers working between Russia today. 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.



His works of elegant observational realism are preoccupied with light and form – a constructivist aesthetic Savelev credits to his 'methodical, scientific background.


- 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. 


At present, Savelev works exclusively on his own projects. He uses a range of cameras, although favours the Leica M3 with a 50mm lens. When printing himself, he uses both traditional and alternative (platinum, gum-bichromate) techniques. He also often collaborates with the master printers Factum Arte in Madrid, to create his multi-layered pigment, prints which are exquisitely printed onto aluminium panels. 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.