Boris Savelev (b.1946) is a Ukranian-born Russian photographer famed for his shadowed images of ordinary street scenes and the figures that inhabit them throughout a time of great transition during and following the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. He can be regarded as one of the most important photographers working in modern-day Russia.
Hailing from the Western city of Chernovitz as part of a great photographic generation alongside figures such as Vyacheslav Tornovetsky and Sergei Lopatiuk, Savelev began in the exclusively-available black & white film and worked with minimal forms as well as dark tones of colour and light to create his starkly realistic view of the streets he walked in his adopted Moscow. Savelev went on to incorporate colour following the invention of colour film in the early 1980’s and now utilises a mixture of digital and analogue forms of photography.
These latest offerings are facilitated by the technology of Factum Arte, with director Adam Lowe first meeting Savelev in 1995 – marking the beginning of a long creative relationship. Savelev’s journey of photographic exploration through printing methods such as gum bichromate, Kallitype, and through pigment transfer has culminated in his exclusive partnership with Factum and Factum's Head of Printing Rafa Rachewsky. Using the specialist flat-bed printer available in the Madrid workshop, much of Savelev’s modern work is printed on gesso-coated aluminium; a material that complements the deep shadows present in his work as well as the multiple tonal layers involved in their production, with the photographer personally involved in every print himself.
A film by © Óscar Parasiego for Factum Arte