Yulia GorodinskiTitles unknown (201X)

Remember when Flickr was the primary hotbed of up-and-coming photo and image making talent? Well, the first wave of that milieu crested in what–early to mid-2006, if memory serves.

At the time, Gorodinski was studying History and English literature in Tel Aviv. Originally of Belorussian extraction, her family immigrated to Israel when she was 12.

She joined flick in the post-first wave low-tide around 2007 and built a reputation for the sumptuous color invigorating already dynamically composed, narratively insinuative frames.

By 2010, she was a fixture of the Flickr second wave–gaining the attention of Dazed. (Virtually everything written about her after that point–leans heavily on the content of this interview.)

It’s still possible to see a good chunk of her work–a Google search turns up a lot of them. A Tumblr search adds some other exquisite samples of her work. However, as far as I can tell, Gorodinski no longer circulates this work herself. (I won’t pretend to speculate as to the motivations for this…)

It would seem that she does still make images. The above attribution links to a Tumblr that shares a few images indicative that it is the same Yulia Gorodinski. The new work is more mannered, patient and quotidian. It’s not bad–still definitely artful. But I do have to say that I miss the dizzying audacity of these self-portraits.

I think there’s an argument to be made that although she would probably wisely resist such a label, I think you could argue that the problematic term “the female gaze” could be well applied to her work.

Honestly, though beyond the fact that her work insists upon the profusion of color it present (that should not be diminished since so few photographers and image makers treat color as anything more than a binary that contributes to a better meshing between the conceptual and compositional, meditation on the nature of how color affects perception and reaction to such perception being so intrinsic to these images), there’s also something else very special about these: an imagistic totality.

As someone who is ostensibly fixated on both the tradition of staffage and cinematic/narrative photography & image making, the line between a landscape with figures in it (a more painterly affectation) and something that seems more suggestive of composition through post-production layering–i.e. shooting someone in front of a green screen–it’s not always easy to pull off work like Gorodinski’s.

That she does it at all is impressive but that she does it so flipping well, so frequently is even more awe-inducing. This is impressive stuff and while I don’t feel as strongly about her more recent work, I am curious to see what her newfound restraint would contribute if she returned to a similar approach again. I suspect it would probably be the sort of thing that would make me feel like I needed to sell all my gear and leave the photo game to the real pros.

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