Works from ROSPHOTO’s and author’s personal collections
Svetlana Timofeyeva started photographing in the early seventies. At that time the amateur photo was popular in the USSR, and she at once established herself as amateur artist. For the Soviet amateur photographers the landscape photography was inseparably linked with tourism, backpacking, expedition and such.
Svetlana Timofeyeva's approach is absolutely different. Plunging into the atmosphere of places, getting to know them, the author manages to deliver stories of quiet, ordinary life, human's coexistence with nature through series of photographs. Her photographic geography amazes by its sheer scale: Crimea from the first and surprisingly beautiful Koktebel series to Belomorya in a quite mystical series The Legend of an Invisible City Kitezh, from Primorye and Kamchatka to Karelia, from Baikal Lake to the Carpathian Mountains.
In the works of the first series one can watch the development of the author's vision. Single landscapes do not form a series. Each is valuable by itself, reminding of old, found objects, filled with the foregone life. The effect is created primarily by the use of long-focus lens that carves a piece of space from reality, and the selection of views referring to old, worn-out, lived-through life. The Northern Motif of 1973 captures attention with its feeling of a dead-end space, the suspended time. It seems that the characters would never be able to leave this place and time. In later cycles such as Koktebel (1976-1985) and Ladoga Lake (1985-2012) there would be no more “found objects”, and the people would be rare guests in the image. The reason for this is, probably, the documentary approach being succeeded by a sensuous one. Timofeyeva has become less guided by a certain landscape and less interested in the study of Russia's vast spaces.
Svetlana Timofeyeva's name first became known in Russian photography in 1971 at the USSR competition and exhibition Of Time and Ourselves in Ulan-Ude where she received the gold medal. This quick success was not accidental and was followed by new works and new awards. Very quickly the works were united in series and eventually the best of them formed cycles. The format of cycle is uneasy, it shows that the author was able to establish connection, in Timofeyeva's case, with a place that she found attractive for a certain period of time. And thus the Russian North cycle has emerged. The work started in 1972 and finished in 1987. The author explains her interest in the North simply and profoundly: “I just fell in love with it!” This emotional phrase describes the very essence of the photographer's attitude toward nature. Timofeyeva's further creations are all infused with this motif.
By the early 1980s, Timofeyeva's works obtain an easily recognizable authorial style. It is first and foremost defined by the deliberately selected and systematically developed theme of landscape. Among the Leningrad artists she became the one who was genuinely interested in the landscape genre as a means of artistic expression.
What is that attracts in Svetlana Timofeyeva's landscapes? It is primarily their atmosphere emphasized by the light not only noticed but brilliantly captured, the light defining the luciferousness of space. The sense of the fragile run of time including the experience of image in the soul of the onlooker. The movement once for all set by the authorial logic of composition — the logic where the interplay of foreground and background leads to the point of light opening the way to the new encounter with landscape, the nature, the eternity.
Timofeyeva's works are notable for their technical quality. The ideally selected views expressing the nature's objective beauty, are re-considered by the author during the printing and additional processing and are brought to subjective perfection. During over forty years of work in landscape genre Svetlana Timofeyeva created hundreds of photographs, but the author considers not over a hundred works as her best. This hundred is gradually extended by new works. With surprising ease, Timofeyeva has crossed the critical point of digital technologies emergence in photography. She is still working, and the love of the photographer, just like in the previous years, is landscape.
Nowadays Svetlana Timofeyeva is a member of the Russian Union of Art Photographers, professor of photography at Saint-Petersburg State University of Culture and Arts, had over 40 personal exhibitions shown in Riga, Vilnius, Kaunas, Kaliningrad, Minsk, Kazan, Perm, Chelyabinsk, Vladivostok, Cheboksary, Yoshkar-Ola, Koktebel, Naberezhniye Chelny, Ulan-Ude, Saint-Petersburg, Moscow. She continues to work fruitfully, photographing the northern part of Ladoga Lake — the places which have once struck her with beauty, and later have become her home where each light patch, each cloud and each gust of wind is the reason to resume the eternal dialogue between humans and nature.
Photographer and teacher of photography. Member of Russian Union of Art Photographers since 1989. Professor of photography at Saint-Petersburg State University of Culture and Arts. Was born in Leningrad in 1938. Between 1960 to 1979 worked for five years as geologist in Magadan Region, in the North of Russia, after that at the USSR Geographical Society.
In 1970 graduated from Press photography faculty of the University of Social Professions at S.M.Kirov Palace of Culture.
From 1971 active in art photography. From 1972 has taken part and received awards in USSR and international exhibitions and competitions, with over 80 prizes received at different exhibitions, including golden, silver and bronze medals.
Svetlana is the author of over 40 personal exhibitions shown in Riga, Vilnius, Kaunas, Kaliningrad, Minsk, Kazan, Perm, Chelyabinsk, Vladivostok, Cheboksary, Yoshkar-Ola, Koktebel, Naberezhniye Chelny, Ulan-Ude, Saint-Petersburg, Moscow. She has been invited to talk before the audience in 30 cities of Russia, Italy, countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Svetlana Timofeyeva is the member of amateur photographer unions: photography clubs of Vyborgsky Palace of Culture (1972-1979), Druzhba club (1979-1985), Leningrad Art Group (1982-1988).
She has received fellowships of Russian Union of Art Photographers (1995), Ministry for Culture of the Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic.
Photographs by Svetlana Timofeyeva have been published in newspapers, magazines, books. Her works can be found in many state and private collections in our country and abroad.
ROSPHOTO presents the jubilee exhibition by Boris Mikhalevkin.
More than 100 works by the famous Soviet photo club's members.