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Review of Katerina Tumanova Belkina Russian photographic artist

I've always been fascinated with the interplay between photography and art. Among the most striking I've found in this area are those by Russian photographic artist Katerina Tumanova, alias Belkina. She has crafted a series of photographs in which she pays homage to many of the inconic images off 19th and 20th century art. Others explore an exclusively feminine imaginative world.

Belkina is a Russian photographic artist who uses herself as model, posing in an extroardinary variety of costumes, props, and accessories.

Many images have a disturbing edge, where she transforms herself into an unrecognisable, almost extra-terrestrial look.

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In others she recreates the spirit of famous and familiar works of art, using photography but giving a painterly quality.

What marks her images out from many others is their technical finesse, as well as the imaginative quality that goes into making them.

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Belina's images raise a number of issues:

Is the reinterpretation - or partial copying - of famous works of art a legitimate and productive activity? I think it is.

Most female models of European art depicted by male artists. They were often a muse and object of fascination. But Belkina turns herself into the muse. Is it narcissistic to do thif? Maybe it is but if the images are convincing enough, then I have no problem with it

Does the uncovered female body have more erotic allure in a contemporary photograph than a painting from a past era? Yes it does, but I have no problem with that either, if the images are refined and sophisticated, which Belkina's are.

Painting and photography both consist of colour and tones on a flat, usually rectangular surface. But they come into being in entirely different ways..

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In a painting or drawing the image comes out of the artist's mind, using the movement of hand with pencil or brush to make the picture on canvas or paper. In photography, the image originates from light falling onto a light-sensitive surface, the subject, angle, crop and other factors chosen by the photographer, who presses a button to capture the picture.

Digital imaging offers the possibility to combine these two methods into a powerful visual medium with unlimited possibilities.

Belkina explores some of these possibilities with unusual imaginative power and technical skill.

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I intend to pursue images of this genre myself and Belkina's work is definitely an inspiration to me.

See more at DeviantArt.

Her website is at www.belkina.ru.

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Written by Aidan O'Rourke
Posted/Updated 2009-02-14

Aidan O'RourkeAidan O'Rourke has been active in photography and online media since 1995. He has documented the development of the local area in his Eyewitness website (1997-2005) and as a contributor to books, publications and the Manchester Evening News. He runs his Eyewitness photography walks in Manchester, Liverpool and other locations. He offers one-to-one tuition in Photography and Languages. He is a high-level speaker of German and can offer photography walks and tours through the medium of German. Visit www.aidan.co.uk

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