Boris Mikhailov (photographer)

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Mikhailov in 2002

Boris Andreyevich Mikhailov (Бори́с Андрі́йович Миха́йлов, born August 25, 1938) is a fine art photographer who has been described as one of the most important artists to have emerged from the former USSR.[1]

Life and work[edit]

Born in the former Soviet Union, Mikhailov lived and worked for several decades in his hometown of Kharkiv, Ukrainian SSR. He received an education as an engineer and started to teach himself photography. Today he is one of the most successful and well-known among the photographers who were already active in the Soviet era. His work combines conceptual art and social documentary photography.[citation needed]

Mikhailov had his first exhibition at the end of the 1960s. After the KGB found nude pictures of his wife he was laid off his job as an engineer and started to work full time as a photographer. From 1968 to 1975 he shot several series documenting everyday scenes, the best known of them being the Red Series. In these photographs he mainly used the colour red, to picture people, groups and city-life. Red symbolized the October Revolution, political party and the social system of Soviet society. It is often said[by whom?] that within those works critical elements toward the existing political circumstances can be found.

In Mikhailov's Klebrigkeit (1982), he added explanatory notes, or diary-like text.

In Case History, considered an important part of contemporary art,[citation needed] he examines the consequences of the breakdown of the Soviet Union for its people. He systematically took pictures of homeless people. It shows the situation of people who after the breakdown of the Soviet Union were not able to find their place in a secure social system. In a very direct way Mikhailov points out his critique against the "mask of beauty" of the emerging post-Soviet capitalistic way of life.

In 2004 Mikhailov first exhibited in Berlin in an exhibition concerning people living at the edge of society.

Selected solo exhibitions[edit]

Selected collective exhibitions[edit]

Books by Mikhailov[edit]



  1. ^ Page about The Wedding, Mörel Books.


  1. ^ Christine Toomey, "The barefaced cheek of Boris Mikhailov", The Sunday Times, June 3, 2007.
  2. ^ "Revolution vs Revolution". Beirut Art Center. Retrieved 6 February 2012. 
  3. ^ Previous award winners, Hasselblad Foundation.
  4. ^ "About The Photography Prize". The Photographers' Gallery. Retrieved 22 October 2015. 

External links[edit]