Uldus Bakhtiozina and Post-Modern Folklore

Meet Uldus Bakhriozina, Russian photographer, who despite her young age has been acknowledged for her contribution to art around the globe. Uldus works with ephemeral topics such as fairy tales and stereotypes, creating highly picturesque, yet socially significant art. Her educational background in politics and an experience of living in England and various Asian countries has resulted in a broad and cosmopolitan views of life. The artist plays with Russian folklore and brings to light some of the common beliefs about her home country. But her work is not solely focused on the heritage of the past, she mixes in features of Russian culture with modern pop culture aesthetics. Our world is deeply interlaced, just like a web you pull one string and the other will come along. That’s how we can get the images of Darth Vader as a ballerina or batman-hipsters hanging out among ageless nature scapes.  fc3862cb2f07864b714f80383ace308b


The audience gets a glimpse of the traditional Slavic costume elements or accessories with a modern twist. However, one of her main objects of interest are fairy tales and their interpretations. Some of the traditional Russian tales are centuries old and they are still told to children as bedtime stories. The patterns and characters are deeply sewn into the cultural and social canvas of a “Russ Land” and, naturally, are a big part of the country’s mentality. Through these stories the first notions of gender relationships enter children’s lives, and an exegesis of the traditional tales mirrors today’s society.

“Conjured Life” is the series of mesmerizing photographs reflecting on the role a woman through the folklore prism. untitled-article-1467084435-body-image-1467084859For instance, this image of a beautiful girl comes from a fairy tale about the mythical place you access only after the enlightenment. The rivers there are filled not with water, but with milk, and the shores are made of the sweet berry jam. It’s inhabited by sleeping beauties and their glory attracts random passersby. But this heavenly-like land can be reached only after the spiritual journey, so all strangers are turned into moths and are prisoners among the sleeping princesses. 23_5924b578bc00113c980e54b1a649a708Baba Yaga that is depicted on this photo is one of the evil characters in Russian folklore, she is a guardian of a forest and often tricks people. Those who are smart enough can get through and even receive some helpful tips from her. Since the spread of Christianity, all the previous pagan symbols were considered as dirty and bad. Forest once was a spot for power and almost a creature; but with time, it turned into rather a negative thing that contained dangers. Baba Yaga has gone through a lot of transformations, considering the tales were told verbally and never written, so they were shaped according to the believes of the particular period. 9

10Here we can see a seven Bogatyrs, strong and brave heroes who live in the forest all together, and once the young Tsarevna happens to pass by. This is a Russian version of the “Snow white and the seven dwarfs”, so we can get the idea why the apples are involved. untitled-article-1467084435-body-image-1467085009

Uldus1In her other works Uldus Bakhtiozina used some post-modernistic tools to embrace modern peculiarities concerning mass culture and national traditions. With a dash of humor and surprise – this is the way we have to deal with the national stereotypes in order to show just how ridiculously inaccurate they are. Uldus’s oeuvre is much appreciated around the world, she was granted a tittle of the best fashion photographer by the Italian Vogue and is known to be the first Russian speaker at the famous TED conference in the United States. This is a good response to anybody who says that there is no place for fairy tales in our contemporary world.