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Maria Svarbova: Dreamy Dystopian Worlds

Fashion and Documentary Photography

     The artistic practices which deal with the collective memory of a certain era are by default socially or politically charged. The approaches differ, yet their core is an actual articulation of human behavior, relations, and everyday routines. Nevertheless, when it comes to photography the presumption is that fashion based images cannot reach the seriousness required for the theme of memory.

A fine example which disrupts such a stereotypical thinking is the work of Maria Svarbova, who successfully combines fashion and documentary photography in order to establish both visually and conceptually impeccable images. As a matter of fact, by constructing dystopian worlds apparently deployed of emotions, the photographer articulates alienation and loneliness present in the contemporary moment.

Maria Svarbova - In the Swimming Pool series, minus37
Maria Svarbova - In the Swimming Pool series

The Flourishing Career of Young Photographer

Maria Svarbova was born in 1988 in Slovakia. She studied restoration and archeology, yet photography became her true passion. Since 2010 onward Svarbova actively exhibits and has gained international acclaim and collaborations with clients such as Forbes, Vogue, The Guardian. This reputation provided her with a commission for a billboard promotion on the famous 101 Taipei tower in Taiwan. Recently, the photographer received a 2018 Hasselblad Masters Award in Fine Art Photography for the latest series titled “In the Swimming Pool”.

Maria Svarbova - In the Swimming Pool series, minus37 (1)
Maria Svarbova - In the Swimming Pool series

The Silent Narratives of Maria Svarbova

Apparently influenced by the Socialist era, a social and political context inseparable from her home country, the young photographer carefully constructs vintage imagery centered around the subtle choreographies of the human body in public space. By accentuating smooth surfaces and vibrant color pallet, the photographer evokes both the feeling of nostalgia and contemporaneity.

Her atmospheric images without the doubt seem serene and dreamy, and they provide the impression as if the subjects represented got lost in translation, somewhere in between the past and the future. The narratives Maria Svarbova creates are seductive, slightly mysterious and possess cinematic quality; they are like exquisitely aestheticized film stills which invite the observer to unravel them.

All images copyright of Maria Svarbova.

You can view more work by Maria Svarbova on her Website and Instagram.

Article written by Vladimir Bjelicic

Maria Svarbova - In the Swimming Pool series, minus37
Maria Svarbova - In the Swimming Pool series, minus37
Maria Svarbova - In the Swimming Pool series, minus37
Maria Svarbova - In the Swimming Pool series, minus37
Maria Svarbova - In the Swimming Pool series, minus37
Maria Svarbova - In the Swimming Pool series, minus37
Maria Svarbova - In the Swimming Pool series, minus37
Maria Svarbova - In the Swimming Pool series, minus37
Maria Svarbova - In the Swimming Pool series, minus37
Maria Svarbova - In the Swimming Pool series, minus37
Maria Svarbova - In the Swimming Pool series, minus37
Maria Svarbova - In the Swimming Pool series, minus37
Maria Svarbova - In the Swimming Pool series, minus37
Maria Svarbova - Elements Series, minus37
Maria Svarbova - Elements Series, minus37
Maria Svarbova - Elements Series, minus37 (3)

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