People of town N is the first book by the Novokusnetsk photographer Nikolay Bakharev. The book has 65 black and white plates (1981–2003), single and group portraits divided into two parts: Public and Private.
The focus of the artist’s attention in public areas, the most often at the beach, are ordinary residents of Novokuznetsk, random people: married couples or loud groups of people of different ages. The interior portraits are filled with a stage-like arrangement of carefully designed scenery: a small couch, an invariable Russian carpet on the wall, rumpled sheets, “Soviet” champagne, fashionable magazines from overseas… All this was considered to be the height of freedom back in that light-headed age. Naked people with proud, yet slightly bewildered eyes attempt to pose like in the Playboy magazine’s pictures.
In public areas and in the private environment behind closed doors Bakharev captures what Soviet people, by definition, were denied – intimacy of its heroes. All the stereotypical images that his characters attempt to fit into – not social models forced upon them “from above”. Нis heroes try, albeit naively and in an awkward manner, to win the right to their own private fantasmatic world, where everyone can be whoever they want to be. And to Bakharev these attempts seem touching and deserving of respect.
Bakharev became popular at the end of the Soviet era. He has participated in many exhibitions in Russia and in the West, but still lives in his hometown of Novokuznetsk. As a former service photographer until recently he earned extra money taking photographs at the beach in summer. His latest exhibitions were held in Miami, London and Frankfurt.
In the book there are three essays, Ekaterina Degot (who was once also involved in Bakharev’s photography), Vladimir Dudchenko and Irina Chmyreva share with the audience their thoughts on love, being an amateur and photography in Russia.Publisher: Галерея Photographer.Ru , 2008 г.
Cover: Мягкая обложка, 144 стр.
Format: 21,5 х 22