Boris Mikhailov, ‘I am not I’, 1992, Suzanne Tarasieve

About Boris Mikhailov

One of the leading photographers from the former Soviet Union, Boris Mikhailov is best known for his photographic narratives of angst and listlessness, urban ruin, and mental illness. A social documentarian, Mikhailov poetically describes the sad realities obscured by the rapid economic growth that the former Communist Bloc has recently undergone. “It is a disgraceful world, populated by some creatures that were once humans, but now these living beings are degraded, ghastly, appalling,” he says. “This ‘fauna’ is specific especially to the period of quasi-general diffidence, specific for most of the post-communist world.” In “Case History” (1997-98), Mikhailov explored the condition of the homeless in the industrial city of Kharkov, his life-size color photographs capturing the homeless that live on the periphery of a city that has otherwise reached a prosperous state since the fall of the USSR.

Ukrainian, b. 1938, Kharkiv, Ukraine