The Supermodels of Siberia

Today, just a quick overview of a photo essay by Anastasia Taylor-Lind that I’ve just seen that goes by the title of “Siberian Supermodels” (Link). On this, the shortest day in the UK’s year it’s especially intriguing to be shown the distant, dark world from which many of the models that grace the fashion pages are drawn: the grim slabs of Siberian towns against which these girls (made up even at school, posing in model agency classes from the age of 5) come.

Some of the photos are shocking, most are uncomfortable. A lone man videoing a child for a Japanese agency, a startlingly thin model removing her top in a casting call, an impossibly glamourous student in a science class. It’s not a world I especially recognise but obviously anybody who consumes western capitalist culture is in some part complicit in its existence.

The style throuhgout echoes the art portrait genre that does so well at the annual Photography Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery: colours are muted and poses often enigmatic. But the narrative is a compelling one and with the sequence bookended by exhausted models it is not an easy ride. It’s also well worth reading Taylor-Lind’s accompanying essay which gives a bit more context as to who the women are and the events at which she was shooting.

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