“Body” is the photography debut book by Ilya Zakharin, presented in black and white. The project explores the shapes, contrasts, and shadows of male-identifying figures while also serving an underlying purpose of showing support to queer artists in Russia, the artist’s motherland.
In the words of the photographer, currently located in Berlin: “For me, it is important not only to present the aesthetics of my work but also to convey a message. I am fascinated by abstract portraits and the representation of male bodies, but I also want my work to speak about things that I haven’t had the chance to talk about before. The representation of queerness is a central part of my artistic activity, and a few months ago, it was officially banned in my home country”.
“I also want my work to speak about things that I haven’t had the chance to talk about before. The representation of queerness is a central part of my artistic activity, and a few months ago, it was officially banned in my home country.”
On November 30th, 2023, the Russian Supreme Court declared the promotion of LGBT rights as an “extremist movement”, further tightening restrictions against the queer community in the country. Currently, any LGBTQIA+ advocates in Russia face severe risks and persecution. “It pains me deeply that this is happening in the 21st century in my country, where I was born and raised. I worry a lot for my queer friends and colleagues who have not yet fled Russia. While making this project, this book also adopted a new meaning as a way to support the LGBTQIA+ community in my country. As a reminder, perhaps, to all members of the queer community who are afraid to reveal their identity in the current situation, to know they are not alone”, comments Ilya.
In “Body”, the photographer presents a curation of physiques with a background wonder about the habits that create them, from the self-love relationship to the discipline and lifestyle that has shaped them. Keeping in mind that the body is one of the few things that accompanies us from the first breath to the last, this photography book offers a visually pleasant exploration.
You can purchase Ilya Zakharin’s book ”Body” through his Instagram account.