These photographs possess a virtue that can surprise both the audience well acquainted with the author and, equally, those who see his works for the first time.

This time Sveshnikov refused to create a ‘project': space subordinate to gestures and allusions easily read by the audience, and thus entered a game both risky and exciting. Naturally, an experienced guest will remember the names of Karl Blossfeld and Wilson Bentley, the leaders of New Objectivity group – and won't be mistaken: Sveshnikov's ultimate attention to the world of plants turns a picture of a fern into something to be rather called a portrait. The artist observes one other requirement of the tradition. Blossfeld experimented with optics stretching camera's bellows and created a photo camera unique for his time. Sveshnikov, too, proclaims the importance of the right choice for sharpness area.

However, similarities are limited to the above mentioned characteristics and, possibly, also the fact that it is almost impossible to date the Fragments (whether by end of XIX century or our time). And it's beyond this limit that the most interesting things start. Next to recent photographs of plants and trees the exhibition places images of people shot a couple decades ago. A lonely profile at an empty patisserie table in Vassilievsky Island, a child with a doll at a common Leningrad scrapyard shot quite carelessly, on the move, but with an ‘incidentally' right balance of light and shadow, find their place next to images of inanimate nature. And one is left to wonder what calculations are put in the basis of this unexpected naturalness, or to trust the familiar judgment that ‘freest associations are most correct'.

SERGEI SVESHNIKOV. First of All, to the Technology of It

Analogous photography interests me much more than digital because it has a much wider range of possibilities. Analogous photography (photography made using film) starts with choosing a subject. First of all, a clear plan, a story appears in photographer's head. It is somewhat like shooting a good film: preproduction takes place only before the shooting itself starts. Similarly, a photographer should have a clear understanding what he will do and in what order. This affects the choice of negative material, light conditions, processing mode, positive process parameters. Additional processing can include toning, chemical processing using metallic salts, chromic salts processing (when the ready made print is used as matrix) and conclusive retouching.

I liked very much photographs of Karl Blossfeld and Maria Panich. Blossfeld created very sharp and precise images – I should call them portraits of plants. Panich's works are blurred and gleaming, with details melting into a trailing carpet. These two authors are like the poles for me. I value their work highly: their images show clearly that a subject is just an occasion to make a statement and that any subject, even most primitive, can be used to make an outstanding photograph. It doesn't mean of course that, at seeing these authors' works, we'll grab our cameras and start picturing grass. We have seen a lot. But it happened to me once, I was sitting on the ground changing lenses and suddenly saw the grass! Fabulous object with so many faces. Just five minutes of watching it – and you know everything, what equipment to use, how to shoot and why!

As far as portraits are concerned, I am most interested in elderly people whose faces bear traces of the life-long workings of their hearts.

Shooting a portrait splits you into two persons. One is in contact with the sitter, joking with him: after all, I am not shooting behind his back. The second person is laid-back and cynical in watching the light, the shadows, the angles. It is difficult at first to be two people at the same time, but eventually it absorbs you.