Alexander Tikhomirov – *** (2015)
Honestly, Tikhomirov’s work makes me feel like I need to take a scalding shower after looking at it. It’s sleazy, heteronormatively entitled and objectifying as fuck.
Further, it’s mostly garbage. Except for the one-offs where he seems to demonstrate something like an understanding of when to use landscape vs. portrait orientation–and it has to be noted that most of these smack of nothing so much as spending a week binging on Garry Winogrand and deciding you’re suddenly by osmosis: a street photographer, Tikhomirov couldn’t find a thoughtful composition if that thoughtful composition was his ass and he was given the use of both his hands and a fucking map.
And although the above is some downright egregious #skinnyframebullshit, there is something to this that grabs my attention.
Perhaps it’s the table and the strange device on it. Even with a horizontal frame, that would probably still remain a mystery. BUT, I did take a year of Russian in college and while I only remember dribs and drabs, it seems the stenciled Cyrillic text means something like Fire Command Station 01 And to me that suggests that if not exactly a public area, this is not an entirely private area either.
With the interpenetration of public and private and the flagrant, zero fucks given coyness of the pose, eye contact with the camera (vis-a-vis the audience) would have been too suggestive. Similarly, sans the coat, it would’ve also been too much. As it is–even though a vertical frame would’ve done more to ground her in the space and to mitigate the sexualization of the tableau,
It’s probably a totally wild hair conjecture, but I sort of feel like this probably happened sometime between Xmas and New Year’s. Tikhomirov was out drinking and this young woman came home with him. He came, she didn’t and while waiting for the second shift, she became fixated with the tinsel on a tree.
And like all men who use their minimal familiarity with a camera as an excuse to ask women to disrobe for them in the panty dropping name of Art, he figured maybe a couple pictures are as good as popping a couple Viagra. She threw on a coat, tossed the tinsel on like a boa and they proceeded to Fire Command Station 01.
It’s still sleazy but it inadvertently communicates something determined and fiercely optimistic about the subject in a way that also manages to critique the narcissism of the image maker.