One of the most important social and humanitarian values that contemporary photographers can realise is the construction of new optics for the perception of common realities. Optics is equal to practise, and the strategy of looking is equal to the strategy of direct action. Just as performance art is an endless laboratory for the production of ethereal corridors, strategies, tactics, and examples of survival, self-preservation, and self-knowledge in an aggressive, repressive environment, so contemporary photography, in a social and even political sense, is an endless confrontation or the production of independent optics and views on what is happening and what is available in the world. Independent of repressive models and so-calledbig narratives." The greatest interest for critics, viewers, and art researchers is caused by those contemporary photographers who, through their works, show sophisticated, thoughtful, and paradoxical optics, an original myth about the personality of the artist-photographer, a mature social position, and a personal philosophy of art.
Leonid Sorokin is an excellent example of an outstanding photographer who consciously realises the liberating potential of contemporary photography in his art practise. His style can be described as twilight, minimalistic, a little dim, translucent, gliding, and fleeting. His works are restrained in colour; the compositions are concise and arranged in such a way that the viewer“s gaze is first of all dispersed and pacified, and only then does he find himself trapped in self-identification. This effect is similar to what the audience experiences in an immersive theatre. The first question that such a viewer asks himself is: What is my status as an observer? What is my role? What is my relationship with this world as a mise en scène? Leonid”s works are provocative; they force you to ask self-identification questions. The worlds that Leonid shows us through his works are specific places and specific people of consensus reality, but passing through an optical (distorting? normalising?) lens of the photographer, they seem to be distancing themselves, losing the status quo and connection with the real world. Sorokin“s urban or natural landscapes become ephemeral images of other worlds. It”s hard to say what kind of worlds they are. The polyoptic effect collides in a single array of images: cyberpunk dummies, Wellesian foresight, images of European cinema of the 1960s, and low-fi photographs of the early 21st century. The polyesthetics of Sorokin’s setting are the effect of an endless reinvention of the view of the world. The photographer invites us to rethink our own views and to make this rethinking a radical creative act. Nevertheless, his work, which is flawless from a professional point of view, is like a report from an adventurous expedition through the boundless fields of inner experience, which testifies to the gigantic therapeutic and humanistic potential of his creative practise.
I warmly recommend you visit one of Leonid Sorokin’s exhibitions; I promise you will not be disappointed! Leonid Sorokin is one of the most unusual and inspiring practitioners of contemporary photography, expanding the boundaries of this field of contemporary art. And keep your eyes open!
You can find the works of Leonid Sorokin at the following link: