“Neither you nor I” by Yulia Spiridonova

Denial—of ourselves and others—leaves empty space. There is no place for feelings (love, compassion, sympathy), gestures, or the will to act. Only a sense of failure. The models in these photographs appear one by one (You and Me—do not form Us). Their lack of will, a byproduct of the photographic process, is a result of subordination before the photographer. In each case, the only evidence of free will is expressed in vain attempts to escape, to avoid the camera. When two bodies are in the frame, they are just two bodies; not models, not humans. And they play out a drama—not a drama of passion, but of violence. All photos of Yulia Spiridonova are self-portraits. The author’s cruelty is ruthless when her eye is trained on herself. Hers is a double refusal: of herself, and of love.—

Kirill Adibekov