Zhanna Gumerova is a Moscow-based photographer. She explores the traditional question of truth in photography by digitally creating effects such as scratches and fading, and brushed-on developer. Her experience in fashion photography has perhaps trained Gumerova’s eye to find attractive angles and framing, producing art photographs which are beautiful, but also critical of ideas of beauty.
A series of photographs taken at a swimming pool in Moscow focuses on a group of young water polo players, including her own son. The identities of the children are indistinct, their swimsuits alone betraying their genders. In one picture, three girls crouching by the pool-side look more like birds on a wire than human children. The rigid poses of the young swimmers give a sense of their awkwardness with their own bodies and each others’. Gumerova uses cool blue-grey colors as well as sepia tones in this series, which add to the slightly nostalgic tone.
The photos are digitally manipulated to enhance composition and illuminate meaning. In one, a young girl stands before her coach, who raises his hand as though to strike her. The girl’s fear is visible in her tight posture. Gumerova has drained the color out of the man until he appears like a ghost, or memory, that the girl is seeing.
A series of photographs of bridges is starkly modernist. Shot from unusual angles, the bridges become unfamiliar. The famous Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, England is photographed without its distinctive surroundings – the deep gorge it traverses – creating images of human scale.
Zhanna Gumerova’s work partakes of the Russian tradition of ostranenie, making the familiar unfamiliar, associated with early modernist photographers such as Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Andre Kertesz. The camera creates a distance between observer and observed, while extreme close-up or unusual angles remove the context of objects. The effect is surreal, and the object or person treated thus must be reexamined.
— Luisa de Miranda
More of Zhanna Gumerova’s work can be viewed at www.mirandafineart.com.