October 5, 2018 – January 27, 2019
FORUM 047: Elizaveta Porodina – Smoke & Mirrors

Fashion photographer Elizaveta Porodina (born 1987, Moscow), who lives in Munich, has a long track record of publishing in international glossy magazines. Her dramatic and edgy set designs for prominent fashion labels have appeared in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, and she has a massive Instagram following.

This gallery exhibition shows a selection from the photographer’s multifaceted portfolio. A display of images and groups of works has been curated by the Photography Collection – the images go far beyond normal practices in the world of fashion photography. Indeed, these are portraits tinged with inner turmoil and dark foreshadowings. In her photographs, Porodina focuses on the unbridgeable distance that separates her from her fellow human beings and foregrounds methods of disguise – no matter how close you get, how near the camera is to its subject, very often all you can see are boundaries. To capture this symbolic barrier, she uses a lot of studio equipment. She produces a painterly effect with opaque, oily glass plates and skilfully uses blurring and multiple exposures to create disturbing results. None of her photographs, either black and white or color, offers direct open access to her subjects, and the figures in her images become surfaces on which to project narratives, fantasies and self-reflections.

Untitled, 2017, © Elizaveta Porodina
Untitled, 2017, © Elizaveta Porodina
Untitled, 2017, © Elizaveta Porodina
Untitled, 2018, © Elizaveta Porodina

Porodina not only uses surrealist elements, but an array of techniques from classic fashion photography, from Edward Steichen’s lighting and accessories to image manipulation and alienation à la Erwin Blumenfeld. These almost Dadaist borrowings enable Porodina to develop her own unmistakeable style, indelibly marked by the intimate, dreamy and disconnected mood of the images.


1987: born in Moscow, Russia
2000: moved to Munich
2006-2011: studied clinical psychology, Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich
2011-2013: studied and worked in psychotherapy in Munich
2013 – today: photographic artist and fashion photographer


2016: Helmut Newton Retrospective, FOAM, Amsterdam
2016: Bikini Diaries: Elizaveta Porodina's Dark Iconography, Galerie Max Weber, Berlin
2017: Elizaveta Porodina’s Picture Book, OstLicht, Vienna