Victoria Krundysheva's new photo series celebrates creativity and individuality
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,
Little boxes on the hillside,
And they all look just the same
We all live in a box and carry it around, wondering how to make our box differ from someone else's. That’s what artist Victoria Krundysheva’s latest photo series “The In-boxed” captures.
Krundysheva, a Russian working in India since 2012, is a conceptual photographer whose work focuses on fine-art. Her fiction-based pictures, with a light touch of fashion, are calling attention to major social and individual issues around the world. Her previous concept photography projects include Lost Indian Goddesses, The Dark Room, and the Witch Hunt have already won her a lot of fame.
Speaking to Catch, Krundysheva talks about her latest photo series, and how we all are born to create and invent, even if it is something small. The photo series goes further, raising some important issues that we normally tend to ignore in our day to day life, such as how we are raised in a system which standardises learning, even though each child is different. A system that tells us there is only one way to look at things, only the set way or nothing. It also looks at how our creativity is being killed before we actually know it is there, and how we are told that our creativity is wrong or different.
SQ: As mentioned by you previously, your series “The Dark Room” captures the pain associated with depression. Does “In-boxed” have a similar significance? What inspired it?
VK: Well, In-boxed is dealing with a different topic altogether, but it is something that has been personally bothering me – people being unaware of the resources they have within, of their own capabilities. Just look at kids – how creative they can get, how unconventional sometimes! We all are born to create, invent, even if it is in small things. But we are brought up to believe that we should not leave the borders of the mind that were drawn for us by someone else. We rarely even dare to question these borders.
SQ: Could you describe the meaning and process behind some of the pictures in your recent series?
VK: The meaning of all the pictures is always described in text accompanying a particular project. All of my work is accompanied by strong and elaborate verbal statements, creating a synthesis of my artistic expression.The process usually starts with an idea. Through planning and thinking this idea further develops into a final picture. Most of the frames I plan in advance and each of them is framed a certain way to emphasise on a particular detail or particular emotion I want to convey. After the framing is decided, I list down all the equipment and plan the props and logistics needed. Like the study desk, books, specs, mirror, TV, etc.
For “The In-Boxed” shoot I have actually hired a tempo to deliver a study desk on the beach along with an old TV. It was not easy to get it from the road to the beachside, luckily there were three friends helping me out.
SQ: Why did you choose the beachside for this project? Does this also have some connotation?
VK: Each location, each prop, even the color theme for the photos has a connotation.
The beachside is an intentional choice meant to highlight two things:
1.We are surrounded by an open space, vast opportunities and freedom to move around. Yet we are trapped in one small tiny piece of it.
2.Sand is a metaphor for how superficial are the boundaries. I even mention it in accompanying text: “The ocean will wash it away or the wind will wipe off the marking but we will keep standing where we are, limited but what we can't even see anymore, but are just used to.”
SQ: “New packaging same boxes”. Could you elaborate on what you mean by this?
VK: It refers to the fact that devices/boxes/traps may present themselves in different forms, but their final purpose remains the same – to contain us and our creativity. This particular phrase refers to inheritance of the boxes that trap us from one generation to the next. The device – TV, phone, computer etc -- merely change superficially. The underlying trap of the box remains the same. The old TV in my project is a metaphor for all devices of this kind. The reason I chose the retro TV is because I wanted to portray the "generation after generation" way of inheriting these “boxes”.
SQ: Social issues have become a theme for a lot of staged photography lately. What do you understand of this?
VK: Whenever any issue becomes a part of an open conversation, there will always be people who are genuinely supportive of it and will always be people who are merely trying to “ride the wave” and benefit from being a part of the discussion in some way.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to understand whether or not their intention is a genuine belief in what they are “fighting for”.But I feel, as long as this keeps the conversation going and produces more and more voices on the same, in the big picture it will end up insignificant. Let’s just leave it to their conscience.
But for me, as I said many times in previous interviews, it is a responsibility of those people who have a voice, and especially a voice people listen to, to speak up. And artists, in this case, have one of the most influential voices and also are a reflection of the generation they are a part of.
SQ: Tell us something about the photograph in which the boy is sleeping and the girl is standing next to him holding a book and a stick?
VK: We are raised in a system which standardises learning, even though each child is different. A system that tells us there is only one way to look at things, only the set process and chaos.
Our creativity is killed before we even know it is there. Our creativity is being told it's wrong or different.As you can see there is a white dove in the image flying above a person’s head and being grabbed by a black raven. Dove represents our imagination and creativity. Raven is an education system and standardised processes.
SQ: What sort of reaction have you received for your work? Have you been successful in communicating your message?
VK: So far, I have received an overwhelming support. And yes, to people who are open for conversation and ready to explore different points of view it has been communicated effectively. There will always be those who will think negatively of my ideas or way of expressing them, there will always be people who will accuse artists of crying for attention, or using it as means of self-promotion. But if you have a strong position, you need to be ready for all of it and so to say “Row your canoe, make waves.
SQ: There's a lot of drama in your work. Why's that?
VK: Each of my projects is not just about my subject, but about me equally. Each experience I go through is reflected and fundamental for my development as an artist. My goal is to make viewers perceive the idea not just within the classical mind frames, but rather within their emotional state. Hence, the drama that comes through.
SQ: What are the other issues that you want to highlight through your photography?
VK: There is a long list of projects I have in mind. Each of them is personal and social at the same time. Some are still waiting to take form. But one of the next projects that I am planning to release is a little provocative and very personal. It is an invitation into my world and my way of thinking and feeling.
SQ: Anything else you want to share with us?
VK: I would just like to say to everyone out there – each of you has a creativity within. And my latest project is a cry for you to not allow anyone, even yourself, to keep it trapped. We all were born to be creative. You just need to find where the source of your true creativity lies and use it.
To see more incredible pictures, check out Victoria Krundysheva’s Instagram page and Victoria Krundysheva Photography on Facebook.