Photography Portfolio (1974 - 2021)

8 portfolios, each containing 12 images - 96 images total
C-Prints on Fujicolor RC paper, mounted onto Canson 400 gm
portfolio made by Book Works, London

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© Oak Taylor-Smith | Factum Arte

© Oak Taylor-Smith | Factum Arte

© Oak Taylor-Smith | Factum Arte

For me, as a photographer, when I look back at the images I have made, there are certain decisive moments. Photography is a process of selection and there are subtle changes in the way I observe and frame the world around me. These preferences are influenced by time, place, camera and film. The connections I make have their own poetic resonance. Some may be obvious and explicit. Others are private and subjective. 
Boris Savelev

In the summer of 2022, Boris Savelev and his wife moved from Chernivtsi, Ukraine to Madrid with the help of his long-time friend and collaborator, Adam Lowe, director of Factum Arte and founder of the Factum Foundation. As a refugee, Savelev began to work on the production of these portfolios in Madrid, while the war raged on in his home country. This opus was created in a time of great bloodshed in Ukraine, the homeland where Boris spent most of his life.

The individual photographs brought together in these publications reveal different aspects of the world through Boris Savelev’s insightful eyes, defined by the specific camera he is using for each of the support material that the photograph is fixed onto. Seen together, these images give an insight into the dramatically changing world we all inhabit.

The earliest images are from 1974 and reflect the Soviet Union world where the debilitating tediousness of daily waiting, smoking, and drinking was punctuated by moments of intensity and human warmth. As time passes, the portfolios reveal the extraordinary changes that happened between 1988 and the early 2000s, when Boris was travelling freely and exhibiting in Russia, the U.S., Germany, Spain, and England. The most recent images, mainly taken in his childhood neighbourhood in Czernowitz, Ukraine, invoke a kindness that is rare in contemporary art. They represent a world where light does magical things to both people and the built environment they occupy. The photos are filled with possibility but laced with the reality that is currently dominating life in Ukraine. Savelev resided in Moscow, returning in 2010 to his native Czernowitz in Ukraine, where he lived until he moved to Spain as a refugee.

Boris Savelev working on the portfolio at Factum Arte © Oak Taylor-Smith | Factum Arte

The publication

8 portfolios, each containing 12 images, are presented together in a slipcase. The complete set, containing the 96 images, measures 52x41x13cm. The images are C-Prints on Fujicolor RC paper, mounted onto Canson 400 gm, using MasterMount dry mounting tissue. Their format varies between square (30x30cm) and rectangular (25x38cm). The portfolios and the slipcase were made by Rob Hadrill at Book Works in London. All prints have been selected, printed, and mounted by Boris Savelev since his arrival in Spain in 2022. They cover the artist’s vision of his surroundings from 1974 until 2021.

Each portfolio contains a text by the artist - click here to read them

Humble Man 1974–1979

I joined the photo club Novator in Moscow in 1974. This period was very exciting. I found a great subject in the people of the Soviet Union. I found a voice through the images I took and shared. Boris Savelev

Red Arrow 1980–1986

I left Novator and started working with a Russian Iskra camera, but I also got my first German Leica camera. I continued working in black and white, recording the street life in Czernowitz [Chernivtsi], Moscow, and St. Petersburg. Boris Savelev

Secret City 1981–1988

The series "Secret City" was taken on East German 6X6 color Orwachrome film. Thomas Neurath, the British publisher, came to Moscow as Perestroika started to lift the Iron Curtain. He published the book Secret City, Photographs from the USSR, Boris Savelev (London: Thames & Hudson, 1988), the first book of an “unofficial" photographer allowed to be published outside the Soviet Union. Boris Savelev

Kodachrome 1987–2006

After the subdued colors of Orwachrome the discovery of Kodachrome was a significant moment of change, both in terms of the intensity of color but also in terms of the details I could capture in the shadows. Boris Savelev

Bolshoy 1985–1987

I worked behind the scenes at the Bolshoy Ballet for two years. This was a difficult time in Russia and the images capture the amazing grace and physicality of the dancers and the sense of decay all around them. Boris Savelev

My Czernowitz 1987–2021

Czernowitz [Chernivtsi, Ukraine], is my home. I was born there. I have lived there full-time since 2010. These images are a selection from my ongoing documentation of a beautiful city that is an expression of the complexity of the relationship between the power blocks that control Europe. Boris Savelev

Depot 1987–2021

I have been observing the Czernowitz trolley bus depot for many years. This selection of photographs reveals my fascination with this transport hub. - Boris Savelev

Digital World 2000–2021

We all inhabit a digital world. I have been recording the changes since 2000 with various digital cameras and I have watched the way the sensors change and develop. Boris Savelev


The selection of images was made by Natalia Bohomaz, Adam Lowe and Boris Savelev. 
Special thanks: Rodion and Anzhelika Savelyev, Ivan Bohomaz, Jury Glagolev, Eva Rosenthal, Anna Golubowskaya, Rafa Rachewsky, Jordi García Pons, Luke Tchalenko 

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