Irina Popova

Born in Tver in 1986, Irina Popova grew up amid the upheavals of post-Soviet Russia. She began working as a journalist and photographer at age sixteen, and won her first prize a year later. After studying for a time under press photographer Sergey Maximishin in St Petersburg, she found herself in the Caucasus in 2008 when war broke out between Russia and Georgia, and publication of her images in the magazines Russian Reporter and Ogoniok confirmed her reputation as a committed photojournalist. In conflict zones and on the fringes of society she combines a sharp eye with a deep humanity, in the tradition of Americans like Eugene Smith, Nan Goldin and Jessica Dimmock.
Irina Popova likes multimedia experiments and senses the boundaries between reality and imaginary world. She visually imposes the moments of life, which very often we are trying to ignore. 

Satellite Voices: What do you enjoy most about the medium of photography?
Irina Popova: Photography is when you are still able to marvel about this world. About the way it is. Uninvented worlds can be far stranger and more incredible then any fantasy occurring in your head. And the farther you go, the more you begin to see - and it turns out that the most surprising things in the world could exist undetected under your nose.
Real people and objects become a combination of light and shadow, which can be harmonious and beautiful. But when there is an idea, the narrative, an attempt to convey the atmosphere of the nearby world - it becomes really strong.
SV: How do you choose your photo stories?
Irina Popova: I am interested in the topic of immigration and the problems of children. I am interested in different families and non-standard situations. I am interested in all the “Other Worlds” in which I would not have to go to, if not for the photography. The world is huge and diverse, and I am most interested in people. In all their manifestations. Most often in situations that seem to me strange, incomprehensible or unbelievable, as if I follow my dreams and imaginations through photography, but the reality that I'm shooting - it is real, you can touch it and capture on your camera, although it is more strange than my fantasies or dreams.
SV: Do you care what anybody thinks about your work?
Irina Popova: I value opinions and ideas of people from the professional world, which I respect and appreciate as guiding stars. I am guided by the stars and sometimes I go to them directly.
SV: What do you have coming up that you are excited about?   
Irina Popova: I am making a montage of the film about the story of one woman - my grandmother. With this a story, the medium of film was the best choice. Another project is about Morocco. About traditional and different. I am also publishing a book of my project “Cuba Nearby” simultaneously with the development of my multimedia site. In general, I develop new features for representation of complex, non-linear stories. That is, I do not want to dwell on the images as the destination of my route. I am interested in experimenting in this area.

2004-2009 Tver State University, Journalism faculty
2008-2010 The Rodchenko Moscow School of Photography and Multimedia, specialization – Documentary photography, masters – Oleg Klimov and Irina Meglinskaya
2008-2009 The Educational Program of Online Workshops “Objective Reality”, masters: O. Klimov, I. Meglinskaya, A. Gronsky, R. Effendi, A. Polikanov, L. Perkins, M. Regnier etc.
2008 Moscow Academy of Classic Photography, course “Street photography”, tutor – Anton Gorbachev
2009 workshop “Social Portrait”, master Rena Effendy
2008-2009 other workshops and master-classes by U.Kozyrev, Pieter Ten Hoopen, Platon, Erica Larsen, A. Kostyukov, A. Chernov, A. Lapin, S. Pojarskaya, A. Kitaev, I. Muhin, A.Kuznetsov etc.
2009 “Documentary Design”, Tutor – Koen Gurts, during the Summer Photography School in Minsk, Belarus
2010 “Bookbinding”. The Open University, Breda, the Netherlands
2011 a series of workshops by Magnum Photographers Chris Anderson, Mark Power, Chen-Chi Chang and Georgy Pinhasov

Prizes and Awards:
2010 the Scholarship of the Russian Union of Photographers
2010 the 2nd prize of the Volga Biennale of Photography for “LTP”
2009 “The Best Photographer of Russia” in the category “The Best Photostory”
2009 the Prize of Fund of Development of Photojournalism, Russia
2009 honourable mention of UNICEF for “Another Family” project.
2008 Prize of Volga Biennale 2008 for photoproject “Derbejki. The Village on the Edge of the World”, Nijny Novgorod, Russia
2008 Prize of the contest “Without the Barriers” devoted to the problems of the disabled
2008 Samara, the gold medal of the Delphic Games of World, nomination “Photography”, for photoproject “Another family”, Moscow, Russia
2008 the gold medal of the Delphic Games of Russia, nomination “Photography”, for photoproject “Luli gypsies , Novosibirsk, Russia
2007 the gold medal of the Delphic Games of Russia, nomination “Photography”, for photoproject “The Military Hospital”, Yaroslavl, Russia
2006 the gold medal of the Delphic Games of UIS, nomination “Photography”, for photoproject “The National Opera”, Astana, Kazakhstan
2006 Krasnoyarsk, the gold medal of the Delphic Games of Russia, nomination “Photography”, for photoproject “The Bikers”

Personal Photoexhibitions:
2011 “Saying goodbye to Kezhma”, curator Irina Ruzina, Chernigov Photofest, Chernigov, Ukraine
2011 “Another Family”, Photoquai Biennale, curator Francoise Hugier, Paris, France
2010 Zerkalo Project, La Librairie Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Quebec, Canada
2010 “Another Family”, curator Eric Toubiana,  l'Université Paris Diderot, Paris, France
2010, “10 Days During the War” as a part of L.A.F. project during the Nights of Photography at Tbilisi PhotoFest, Georgia
2010 “Another Family” during the Recontres d’Arles festival, Arles, France
2010 “Syberia”, Valckenberg Park, Breda, the Netherlands
2009 “Cuba is near”. The House of Metrologist, Mendeleevo, Russia
2009 “Will the Russian Village Survive?”, curator B. Mikhailov, The Art center of the Gorky Library, Tver, Russia
2008 “Another Family”, curator Oleg Klimov, Photodepartament, S.- Petersburg, Russia
2008 “A Place on the Earth”, Art-center Garage, Mendeleevo, Russia
2008 “The Heroines of a Western, Tver Officer House, Tver, Russia
2007 “World in the Glass Wardrobe”. The Liza Chaikina Museum, Tver, Russia
“The Petersburg Peak Hour” newspaper
Magazines: “Russian Reporter”, “Ogoniok”, “Correspndent”, “The flight line”, “The theatre Petersburg”, “F”, “Foto&Video”, “The Sunday Times Magazine”. “Le Photo”

Works in collections:
Nijniy Novgorod, Russia, Russian museum of photography
Krasnoyarsk, Russia, The museum of contemporary art
S.-Petersburg, Russia. The State Russian Museum

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