The eerie, futuristic and extraterrestrial figures of Elizaveta Porodina

Elizaveta Porodina's photographic world is intense and evocative. Drawing inspiration from fashion photography icons like Paolo Roversi and Sarah Moon, she creates dreamy, surreal scenes that captivate viewers. Despite her background in clinical psychology, her images exude a profound understanding of human emotions and behavior, ranging from soft and ethereal to dynamic and haunting moods.
February 5, 2024

One of a kind and unrivaled, Elizaveta Porodina is a Russian photographer living and working in Munich. In her experimental fashion and fine art photography, Elizaveta Porodina travels through time and space, extracting the underlying emotions in her captivating productions. One would say that if Lillian Bassman had been born in our time then she would have been Elizaveta. She plays with melancholic symbolism, poses associations, sometimes ambiguous, sometimes honest and obvious – her range varies widely between cinematic, fashion and quasi-documentary. Whether in dramatic black and white works or vibrant colors, Porodina is a master of dark romance.

Vogue Italia

The photographic world of Elizaveta Porodina is intense. Stylistically reminiscent of fashion photography greats such as Paolo Roversi, Sarah Moon, Horst and Lillian Busman, Elizaveta conjures up inky, evocative scenes that tap into an archetypal visual appeal, such as the mother or heroine. Her dreamy works also explore surreal themes – nodding to 20th century artists such as Alexander Rodchenko, Man Ray, and František Drtikol – while also possessing a freshness that has attracted top fashion magazines such as Vogue, Dazed, and AnOther.

Born in Moscow, Porodina’s journey to becoming a fashion photographer was anything but typical. Leaving school, she trained as a clinical psychologist for seven years and later became a psychotherapist at an eating disorder hospital in Germany. “I went from a kid who painted pictures to a teenager who was lost and didn’t know what to do with herself, and from there I became someone who loved psychology but didn’t love it as much as art,” she said of the decision to make circle back to the creativity of her youth. “I just decided to take a leap and see what would happen if I did art and photography full time.” Although Porodina’s background in psychology does not directly influence her photography, a fascination with human behavior and emotions is evident in her images, which range from soft and ethereal to dynamic and haunting moods.

Gentle Monster ’24 Campaign

Jean Paul Gaultier “Flowers” with Kylie Jenner

This theme, says Porodina, goes back to her main fascination with archetypes: “I want to show a heroine; I want to show a mother; Do I want to show a goddess? I want to show a harlequin. I want to show a shadow. Something strong and generic, dark and strange and powerful that is literally going to bounce with that light or darkness out of the picture, and speak directly to the viewer about their fears, about their dreams.” Using these archetypes, Porodina hopes to tap into the innate human need for meaning and identification. “Just as spiders know how to make their webs from scratch without being told how, humans have these images within them. It is a powerful source of communication.

With such a cerebral driving force behind her work, it makes sense that Porodina’s artistic heroes have all danced the line between beauty and darkness in their careers: Francis Bacon, David Bowie and the Swedish photographer, Anders Petersen. An image in Porodina’s book that she feels represents her as an artist most closely is a dramatic portrait of make-up artist Cécile Paravina, a pale face with red hair, smiling with a sinister flash of lipstick-stained teeth. “Do we have a very special connection? she’s Serbian and my roots are Russian, so we have this Slavic, dark connection to each other.” “When I photographed her, I felt how powerful it was – she said I managed to photograph her soul and her true inner expression. I felt the same way. When I look at this photo, it’s not just her, it’s me. It has a bit of a funny, tragic side to it – the way I always look at life with a smile, but there’s always drama as well.”