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Elena Otvodenko Is Breathing New Life Into The Traditional Still Life

Antonina Gorbenko

Modern art usually includes photography as a medium of artistic self-expression mixed with the technological potential of the photo camera. The camera for Elena Otvodenko is not only a technique, but also a tool for her art.

Elena works in many genres of still life photography but as she admits her favorite one is inspired by the traditional, Dutch and Flemish still life paintings. She was born in Luhansk, Ukraine and now is living in Moscow. Self-taught, Elena has been making art since 2015, following a career as a marketer. Elena sees her process as a painterly approach to photography. She composes her pictures as the old masters did: object by object, one and all luxury and splendor. The result is layered work that transcends time.

She creates the perfect contrast between deep shadows and penetrating light which highlights only certain objects. The pictures deliver a strong dramatic effect through an excellent use of chiaroscuro. Elena Otvodenko wants to bring real, timeless beauty into everyday life. Pleasure, delight, that is what it is all about. And indeed, the splendor of her sumptuous works splashes off.

Elena scours farmers’ markets and flower shops for the “perfectly imperfect” subjects to populate her table settings. Within these scenes of abundance, memento mori are evident in the form of bruised fruit, wilting flowers, spoiled oysters, and other reminders of the inevitability of death and decomposition.

Furthermore, she greatly appreciates the sensitivity of early modern masters to impermanence. Their works not only served to urge the viewer to enjoy, and to seize the day — carpe diem — but they also offered solace for the passage of time with their frozen beauty.

Beauty and nature, technology and history, layering and art. Elena weaves all these aspects together into radiant works, beautifully composed, lovingly crafted. She retains the richness and splendor of the past. Each shot is at once classic and of-the-moment, a meditation on the fleeting nature of life and love as interpreted through Elena’s romantic lens.

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