It seems there’s nowhere photographer Murad Osmann and his fiancé, Nataly Zakharova, haven’t been. Venice: check; Singapore: check; New York: check; Bali: check—to name only a few of the places they have globetrotted through and documented in photographs. Working together—with Osmann taking the pictures and Zakharova serving as his point of focus and muse—they have compiled a series of limited edition photographs, titled “Follow Me,” and a companion book, Follow Me: A Journey around the World Through the Eyes of Two Ordinary Travelers, inviting viewers to see what they saw on simple strolls down picturesque side streets and visits to some of the most storied sites in the world.
Osmann printed the photographs at large scale, as if to tempt viewers to step into their frame and join Zakharova. She appears in every one of them with her back to us, arm outstretched, hand grasping that of her traveling partner to lead him (and viewers) along. In Venice I (2013), she is nude, walking down one of the floating city’s winding side streets with an ornate Venetian mask on the back of her head, which appears oddly animated and haunting. She is scantily dressed in Bali 4 (2013), facing a lush scene of vibrant, green palm trees and terraced rice fields. The famous tower of LED screens flashing images and advertisements like a beacon in New York’s Times Square is the backdrop for New York 2 (2013). Here Zakharova wears a wild, zebra-striped purple dress, which flows out generously behind her. The question, “AT A STANDSTILL?,” appears in yellow on the tower’s topmost screen. For this couple, of course, the answer is clearly “no.”