_Anouk_ photographed at the Sunlight Studios in Moscow – © Hans van der Kamp
I love Russia, or better I love the Russians. I have very little to state about the Russian government. To me it is a government like any other, maybe corrupt, but certainly not as corrupt as many other countries with the USA topping the list of dubious regimes.
It was a sad week. The cover model Evgenia for the new series I am working at called ‘The Russians Are Coming’ – which is basically a satirical approach to the many news items of the last few months blaming the Russians for just about everything – died of a heart attack on her 25th birthday, most probably caused by bad drugs, an overdose or even suicide.
It broke my heart. I was working hard at Moscow’s Sunlight Studios, so the models were lined up behind me. When it was her turn to be photographed I looked over my shoulder and I immediately felt that something was wrong. At first I thought it was her age, because she seemed so young and fragile to me, so I asked for her passport. She was 24. It is not uncommon for models to be skinny and fragile, but that eery feeling stayed with me during the entire shoot. She turned out to be the best model I worked with for a long time. The result of the shoot was a series of great photographs. I picked one for the folder to be printed for the Kriebels exhibit at Ahoy Rotterdam.
When I returned from Rotterdam I was told she had died on her 25th birthday. Since then I have not been myself. In a blind rage over some demanding models and a highly talented filmer with a total lack of social skills I deactivated my Facebook account and moved to VK, the Russian equivalent of Facebook, a social network without advertising and a very tolerant attitude towards nudity in photographs.
It is that time of the year when we burn a lot of candles and we will be burning them for Evgenia. She will be sorely missed.
This photograph was not selected to be part of the upcoming exhibit “The Russians Are Coming!” although the portrait was shot during the same two weeks in Moscow at the Sunlight Studio. I believe this portrait is special and certainly not the kind of picture that easily fits in that particular series.
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