The photographs presented in the book, made with the ambrotype process – resulting in one-of-a-kind images captured on glass – represent a new stage in photography, the so-called “antiquarian avant-garde,” that is, the radical rediscovery of obsolete photographic techniques. Sergei Romanov goes further than any other contemporary photographer in pushing his medium into imagistic territory never approached before, because he has ignored all the rules: he just doesn’t care about good taste, or perfect craftsmanship, or total control, or conceptual strategies. He is deeply convinced that what is most important (and most often missing in today’s photography) is an ineffable spirit – and he will risk everything to evoke it. When he succeeds, his images possess the uncanny physical presence of the living body, the primal magnetism of sexuality, and the hypnotic involvement of an hallucination. A waking dream.
Sergei Romanov (b. 1970) is one of Russia’s preeminent photographers. Entirely self-taught, Romanov produces distinctive ambrotype images featuring hyper-stylized female nudes and other subjects. Highly expressive in their dark surrealism, these staged photographs nod to Sally Mann on the one hand and fashion photographers such as Helmut Newton, Sarah Moon, and Ellen von Unwerth on the other. Romanov’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Musei Moskvy, Kunstmuseum Luzern, and the San Diego Museum of Art, as well as in a number of private collections, including that of Juan Antonio Pérez Simón.