Alexander Petrosyan is considered the greatest contemporary photographer in Russia. Born in Ukraine in 1965, he has been living in Saint Petersburg for more than 40 years. And his photos have won uncountable prizes all over the world. Petrosyan started photographing by chance, taking pictures of his neighborhood and people passing by. Only in the year 2000 he decided to take on his passion in a professional way. So he started working for magazines such as “Newsweek”, “National Geographic”, “Kommersant”, “Komsomolskaya Pravda” and “Business Petersburg”. For two years in a row, 2006 and 2007, he won as “Best Photographer of the Year” at the St. Petersburg Awards.
He loves getting out of his house with his Reflex to shoot every detail that catches his attention. From patients in the hospital to the Winter Palace. From refugees and dissidents to abandoned houses. From dangerous fires to military parades.
Saint Petersburg is surely one of the most eye-catching cities in the world. Sumptuous palaces, romantic canals, bridges, churches, and that thin air that’s typical of Northern cities. Petrosyan doesn’t want to just celebrate the city in all its imperial grandeur: he mostly wants to find that dark, hidden side, invisible to tourists. Leningrad, the city of heroes, Putin’s city, the poor and degraded part of this gem, but also the strength of its inhabitants.
“I have two subjects: the city and the people. Saint Petersburg is my favorite stage. But I’m also lucky to be able to travel a lot with my work. And to breath in other realities, very different from Russia.”
“I have given to all my pictures a title on the sensation that I felt while shooting them. They’re completely personal titles, even though I think that a beautiful photo doesn’t need any name at all: it just has to hit the heart of who observes it, and there’s no single name or title that can express such a subjective emotional language.”
Often criticized for his explicit pictures in a rigid country such as Russia, through his images Petrosyan wants to transmit two important messages: beauty on one side, social issues on the other.
At the beginning of 2016 Petrosyan found himself in the middle of a mystery due to his photo “War veteran walks alone during the Victory Parade”. In fact, the picture was shared online thousands of times, and moved people from all over the world. But even now, the photographer is still looking for that veteran, to know who he is and who he was mourning. Some say he was Australian, other English or American. “All my attempts failed: at this point, I think he will always be a hero without a name.”
Kunstkamera (Curiosity) it’s the name of his first photography book: out in libraries earlier this year, it features 120 photos that depict Saint Petersburg and its inhabitants. It wants to represent the city and its aesthetics, its strengths and weaknesses, a portrait of how good and bad nourish each other.
His collection will be showed for the first time in Dresden, at the Kulturhaus Loschwitz, starting from September 28, 2016.