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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Photographer Baryshnikov: “If not for drugs, we would Misha did not work”

Mikhail Baryshnikov how horrible the photographers are not given. If agreed to cooperate, that is: a) his friend b) professional, C) the name of the master. Under these criteria hit the American Robert Whitman, removing the ballet genius of the last 20 years. What came out of it, you can see in the photo centre of the Lumiere brothers. How were born these series, how do you like working with Baryshnikov and what he is, we talked to Mr. Whitman.

Red October. 10:45. Drink coffee from while the closed shop. Next to six-foot man over 60 – gray, in chains and suit “Adidas” – trying to catch the shot of just Peter Trying for a long time – on a bar of soap. Here I think, something happened: smile, eyes in search of another species to shoot. And in the “nose” of the island is more surprising: scaffolding close views of the river, sleep party people a long time, establishments have not yet opened. In General, except for me, no soul.

– Good morning. You have coffee in hand? politely he asks in English.

– Hello. Latte.

– For me?

– Please (surprised stretch a disposable Cup).

– Well, thank you. Podmerzli you.

– And you from what edges?


– What?

– As you can see, with the camera. Can click on the background texture of the brick walls.

On, but quickly. I have behind this wall a short interview.

– OOO! With whom?

– Photographer from America, too. He Mikhail Baryshnikov takes so that take your breath away.

– Then you can not rush. This photographer I am.

– Well disguised in a cap and scarf over his nose you never know.

– Freezing out. See: photo center open. Let’s go, let’s cast off the robe and inside pofotografirovatsya – me, I you.

photo: Ksenia Korobeinikova
Photographer Robert Whitman

Go through the service door and be in the room with the desired exhibition. There is mounting, but the architecture is already looming. Part black and white series (for example, where Baryshnikov in the white tuxedo for the elegant laid table and throws the cloth) weighs strongly in a line, if you watch them in series creates the effect of a video. The rest of the footage a handful of shots (from Baryshnikov with Whitman was five). Workout at the gym. Shooting the performances. Dancer home. On the street. Celebrates the anniversary of their Studio. Finally, the contact prints from the rehearsal of “Occcasion Piece” pas de Deux of two great masters of ballet Baryshnikov and choreographer innovator Merce Cunningham.

photo: Ksenia Korobeinikova
Exhibition during installation.

– Robert, you are so simple: for no reason shooting anyone. With Baryshnikov too, no foreplay happened?

– You could say that, but to me he’s been located yet. My ex-wife the dancer Shelley Washington his best friend. When we first began to tie a relationship, I came to her in the theatre. We sat down to chat in the auditorium, the scene is rehearsed Misha. Every 10 minutes he walked to Shelley for advice. I was irritated, because I wanted to be alone with her. Then she called her supervisor and I was left alone and looked at the scene and was stunned. Baryshnikov was just floating. Don’t know how to describe what he saw.

– Joseph Brodsky, a close friend of dancer, called his dance the “metaphysics of the body that is pulled out beyond ballet. Baryshnikov is a intelligent body that carries the whole world.”

He’s a first-class photographer, on this basis, we agree. After exploring the theater we went to his house near new York. He showed her pictures I own, which are only brought from Cuba. We have the same approach: both hate artificial shooting in the Studio, made-up poses, preferring to record life. We got so carried away talking about the picture that is not noticed as has passed day. When I came home, I realized that not even I remember where Mike lives.

– Something in his house except that its owner is Russian?

– There is no hint of your culture: no samovars, dolls and carpets. In General Misha in spirit and behavior of a typical American. In our society it.

Is he not cranky? Still, the celebrity is also a photographer: he knows what and how it should be.

It’s simple, polite and to the point. Cherish the time, therefore, rejects many shots. Especially since he’s already worked with the best photographers, including Annie Leibovitz. Always knows what he wants. If he doesn’t like something says immediately.

– Often it is in your memory, something is not liked?

In 2015, Mike asked me to shoot a party in honor of the 10th anniversary of his Studio. When I came, I said, “you Have 45 minutes. Baryshnikov will change a few costumes, they should be in the frame along with the shoes.” I realized that they don’t need me, a fashion photographer who works with a tripod, special lights, fancy camera. It was late, something I, of course, filmed on a tiny Sony. The result remained dissatisfied.

– You shoot just for a bar of soap?

– Yes, although I have a digital SLR Nikon. I specifically took on the anniversary of the baby to me, no one noticed and not posed. When reviewed at home shooting, I saw that everything is there, except for Misha. Called him and asked to see again. He only had 10 minutes. I was offered several options, he said that he was shot 100 times. Then I came up with an interesting angle – he leaned out his office window, and hit the shot with the reflection.

– To jump in the pool dressed too your idea?

– Photo session with the swimming pool connected with advertising its fragrance women’s perfume, in Russian they were called “Crazy classics”. For the shoot we rented a mansion in the suburbs of new York: wood, fireplace, swimming pool. There are expressive footage of Mike walking around it, sitting on the edge, throws drops of water. I take off, it’s like shooting very fast and a lot. These images are in a row creates the effect of a movie. But with pool not enough climax, I plucked up the courage and asked Mike to jump in the water. He agreed. Now this photo weighs in his office.

Your first series is very dynamic, the latter static. What is the reason?

Mike grew up. Acts more like an actor than a dancer. Although moves on the stage, and still captivates the audience. Before departure to Moscow I saw his show “Baryshnikov — Brodsky”: he reads poetry, while the body does something incredible. I filmed the performance, but the photo’s didn’t show anyone, even Mischa.

He’s taking shots with you?

– Never: he trusts me. I’m always involved in the selection itself. Only for this exhibition works were chosen by the curator Yana Iskakova. She found in my archive of the shots I never published. She felt them strength (we are talking about triptychs with rehearsals – “MK”), and no mistake. Now I wonder why I did not notice them.

– Maybe they played after the treatment?

– The works presented here have undergone minimal processing, mostly retouching, as we worked with the negatives. Filters do not use – I for natural shooting. Although I understand that after a competent postproduction and a lousy photo can become a masterpiece.

– Love this instagram. Do you use it?

– I have an account, but it is assistant. He puts me the pictures you have taken. I am a person who tries not to contact the artificial world, preferring the real.

– What is he to you? Judging by the photos, you live in luxury, constantly traveling. In the real world, there is poverty, famine, war… Trying not to notice?

– To talk about this important, and I often watch the military shooting or shots from Africa, but the doing is not. I don’t know how to shoot beggars, and then return to the loft in downtown new York. It’s not fair. In this case, I do not help them, and make them a career. If I was young, it can be devoted their lives to the ills of our world.

– However, in youth you brought in a completely different step…

If you mean that I am a hippie, Yes, I love sex, rock-n-roll, drugs. However, with the recent tied after almost dying from a drug overdose.

Drugs don’t interfere with your work?

On the contrary, they expanded the mind and helped to see something different. If I didn’t have this experience, I would be boring, haven’t met someone as hot as Shelly and we have not developed anything with Baryshnikov.


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