Student Work

  • Photography (BFA)

    Irina Lastochkina


    For this project, I photographed female representatives of the Russian diaspora in the United States. All of the women were born in the former Soviet Union and due to varying circumstances moved to the United States at different periods of their lives. The inspiration for this project was to celebrate Russian culture through the iconic set of Russian nesting dolls known as Matreshka. Matreshka have come to serve as a metaphor for the complexity and diversity of the Russian woman. In traditional Russian culture a woman is typically modest; she is not allowed to be outspoken, so she expresses herself through the bold colors of her clothing. These traditional costumes tell the story of the woman, her social status, her age, her marital status, etc.

    In this series, I am creating living Russian Matreshka. I shot in the studio on a simple white background, utilizing a beauty light. All the women were shot the same way, so they seem like a set of Matreshka, where all the little dolls look alike, though painted differently. To me this project is the expression of my inner self. By utilizing other people, I project and celebrate my idea of traditional Russian beauty, which was rejected in recent decades, just before and after the collapse of the Soviet Union.