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Boris Mikhailov (photographer)

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Mykhailov in 2002
Mykhailov in 2002

Borys Andriyovych Mykhailov (Ukrainian: Бори́с Андрі́йович Миха́йлов; born 25 August 1938) is a soviet and Ukrainian photographer.[1] He has been described as "one of the most important artists to have emerged from the former USSR."[2] Mykhailov has been awarded the Hasselblad Award[3] and the Citibank Private Bank Photography Prize.[4]

Life and work

Born in the former Soviet Union,[1] Mykhailov lived and worked for several decades in his hometown of Kharkiv, Ukraine. He received an education as an engineer and started to teach himself photography.[1] Today he is one of the most successful and well known among the photographers who were already active in the Soviet era. His work combines conceptual art and social documentary photography.[citation needed]

Mykhailov had his first exhibition at the end of the 1960s. After the KGB found nude pictures of his wife he was laid off his job as an engineer and started to work full-time as a photographer. From 1968 to 1975 he shot several series documenting everyday scenes, the best known of them being the Red Series. In these photographs he mainly used the colour red, to picture people, groups and city-life. Red symbolized the October Revolution, political party and the social system of Soviet society. It is often said[by whom?] that within those works critical elements toward the existing political circumstances can be found.

In Mykhailov's Klebrigkeit (1982), he added explanatory notes, or diary-like text.

In Case History, considered an important part of contemporary art,[citation needed] he examines the consequences of the breakdown of the Soviet Union for its people. He systematically took pictures of homeless people. It shows the situation of people who after the breakdown of the Soviet Union were not able to find their place in a secure social system. In a very direct way Mykhailov points out his critique against the "mask of beauty" of the emerging post-Soviet capitalistic way of life.

In 2004 Mykhailov first exhibited in Berlin in an exhibition concerning people living at the edge of society.


  • If I were a German. Dresden: Verlag der Kunst Dresden, 1995. ISBN 3-364-00352-1
  • Boris Mikhailov. Stuttgart: Oktagon, 1995. ISBN 978-3-89611-001-5.
  • By the Ground. Stuttgart: Oktagon, 1996. ISBN 3-927789-91-7.
  • At DUSK. Stuttgart: Oktagon, 1996. ISBN 3-927789-91-7.
  • Unfinished Dissertation. Zurich: Scalo, 1998. ISBN 978-3-931141-97-4. With an essay by Margarita Tupitsyn.
  • Case History. Zurich: Scalo, 1999. ISBN 978-3-908247-09-8.
  • Boris Mikhailov: The Hasselblad Award 2000. Zurich: Scalo, 2001. ISBN 978-3-908247-42-5.
  • Äußere Ruhe / Äussere Ruhe (Drucksache N.F. 4). Düsseldorf: Richter, 2000. ISBN 3-933807-21-2. Photographs and Russian text. Includes a German translation of the photograph notes, an interview with the artist (in German) by Marina Achenbach, and biographies (in German). Edition of 1000 copies.
  • Boris Mikhailov. Phaidon 55 series. London: Phaidon, 2000.
  • Salt Lake. 2002 ISBN 3-88243-815-0
  • Boris Mikhailov: A Retrospective.
  • Look at Me I Look at Water . . . or Perversion of Repose, Göttingen: Steidl, 2004. ISBN 978-3-88243-968-7.
  • Crimean Snobbism. Tokyo: Rathole, 2006.
  • Suzi Et Cetera. Cologne: Walther König, 2007. ISBN 978-3-86560-113-1.
  • Yesterday's Sandwich. London: Phaidon, 2009. ISBN 978-0-7148-4856-3.
  • Maquette Braunschweig. 2010. ISBN 978-3-86521-834-6
  • The Wedding. London: Mörel Books, 2011. ISBN 978-1-907071-19-5.[n 1]
  • Tea Coffee Cappuccino. Cologne: Walther König, 2011. ISBN 978-3-86560-877-2.
  • Time is out of Joint. Berlin: Distanz, 2012. ISBN 978-3-942405-64-5.
  • I Am Not. London: Morel, 2015. ISBN 978-1-907071-45-4. With a text by Simon Baker. Edition of 500 copies.
  • Suzi et Cetera (Part 2). 89 Books, 2019.
  • Yesterday's Sandwich II. Tokyo: Super Labo, 2019.


Solo exhibitions

Group exhibitions


See also


  1. ^ Page about The Wedding Archived 6 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Mörel Books.


  1. ^ a b c "Photographer Boris Mikhailov's best shot". The Guardian. 15 February 2012. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  2. ^ Christine Toomey, "The barefaced cheek of Boris Mikhailov", The Sunday Times, 3 June 2007.
  3. ^ a b Previous award winners, Hasselblad Foundation.
  4. ^ a b "The Photography Prize 1996-2006: A First Decade Account". The Photographers' Gallery. 16 May 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  5. ^ Johnson, Ken (2 June 2011). "Behold the Anonymous Downtrodden". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  6. ^ "The People Who Got into Trouble: Boris Mikhailov's Case History at MOMA by Kevin Kinsella - BOMB Magazine". Retrieved 18 June 2021.
  7. ^ "Wrecked: Boris Mikhailov's "Case History"". Time. Retrieved 18 June 2021.
  8. ^ ""The Forbidden Image". Solo exhibition by Boris Mikhailov". Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  9. ^ "Boris Mikhailov". Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  10. ^ "New Photography 9: Christopher Giglio, Boris Mihailov, Mark Steinmetz, and Beat Streuli". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  11. ^ a b Searle, Adrian. "Feature: Photographer Boris Mikhailov". Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  12. ^ "Revolution vs Revolution". Beirut Art Center. Retrieved 6 February 2012.
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Boris Mikhailov (photographer)
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