Boris Savelev

Boris Savelev was born in Chernovitz in 1947 and moved to Moscow in 1966. He is a graduate of the Institute of Aeronautics and joined the Moscow photography Club Novator in 1970. Boris's interest in photography began in 1963. Since 1982, he has worked on a freelance basis for publishing houses in the USSR and abroad. He became a full time photographer since 1982 and has had numerous exhibitions worldwide. He is regarded as one of the most important and well-known photographers working in Russia today. He first came to the attention of the art-world in the west with the publication of Secret City by Thames and Hudson in 1981. This established Boris Savelevs´s reputation as one of the most serious artists of a new generation of photographers emerging from the former USSR.

 


 

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

 

- The Guardian

 


 

 

Savelev's extraordinary photographic work has earned him a place in major international collections worldwide, among them, the Corcoran Galley in Washington, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Staatsgallerie of Stuttgart, the Saarland Museum in Saarbrucken, Germany, our Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe and many other respectable institutions. In 1986, at the start of Perestroyka (rebuilding), Thomas Neurath, the director of Thames and Hudson visited Moscow looking for 'unofficial' artists. He picked Boris Savelev and in 1988, the monograph Secret City was published. This was the first book published in the west of an unauthenticated photographer living in the Soviet Union. Up until 1988 all of the works that Boris Savelev had exhibited were black and white prints but he had been experimenting with colour photography since the early 1980's. When producing Secret City, Thames and Hudson selected a group of these colour photographs which had been taken using Orwachrome film. 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. 

 

Presently, Savelev works exclusively on his own projects. He uses a range of cameras although favours the Leica M3 with a 50mm lens. He prints all his photos himself, using traditional and alternative (platinum, gum-bichromate) techniques.