I started to do my first photographic projects in Russia, in Saint-Petersburg and in the region, near the town where I was born. It happened naturally because of the fact that I didn't have an opportunity to travel at the time, and it turned out to be a great advantage – I knew about the places which remain non-existant for most people, thus, in a way, I photographed a parallel reality. This became a continuous quest for exploration - meeting people who live hidden and unnoticed by society.
This experience was eye-opening for me. It made me realise a lot of things, it made me think how fragile this world of relative stability created by our families is, how thin is the borderline between health, both mental and physical, and sickness; the normality of everyday life and misery; freedom and lifetime imprisonment. In the stories and in the lives of the people I saw hope and despair; all the possible emotions and situations that I heard or read of, now were not on the pages of the books, on a television screen, on a theatre stage, but here they were, in front of me, real, the first-hand experience of life, without any intermediaries.
Born in Kingisepp, Leningrad region, Russia, in 1980.
Graduated from the Herzen State Pedagogical University with a degree in Foreign Languages.
In 2000-2002 studied at the PhotoFaculty of the St.Petersburg House of Journalists in the group of Sergey Maximishin.
In 2005 participated in the masterclass organized by Objective Reality Foundation in Saint-Petersburg.
Alexandra focuses on social issues of everyday life, ranging from the homeless, migrant workers, lunatic asylums to ropewalkers, circus and street artists.
In 2007 joined Agency.Photographer.ru.
Alexandra received the Grand Prix of the Northern Palmyra, Saint-Petersburg, 2004.
She was a prizewinner of the Best Photo Correspondent of the Year (St.Petersburg, 2004-2006) including the Grand Prix in 2006; was commended at the Ian Parry Scholarship (2006); finalist of Descubrimientos, PhotoEspana, in 2007.
Alexandra took part in the 14th annual World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass in 2007 and was an artist in residence in Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam, in 2008-2009. In 2008 she was a participant of Eddie Adams Workshop, Barnstorm XXI in the USA and is currently one of the students of Reflexions Masterclass (2010-2011).
She had solo exhibitions and took part in group exhibitions and festivals in Russia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Finland, Poland, UK, France, Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Canada, Turkey, China and Bangladesh.
I was born in Ukraine yet I always had a clear sense that I belonged somewhere else. 7 years ago I found what I was looking for in the UK and it has been my chosen home ever since. Going abroad meant adventure, excitement and the priceless opportunity to find my identity. We all want happiness in life and in order to find it I knew I had to answer the big question: who am I? The words “journey” and “path” are incredibly popular but what do they really mean? Then I accidently discovered photography, or rather was discovered by it - it felt like being born.
Despite my new identity, a certain connection or even bond with Kiev, the city of my birth, still remains. Perhaps it's a reflection of a deep understanding of its inner life, something I will probably never achieve in the UK as I missed out on a huge number of cultural layers while growing up in Kiev. Equally the past 7 years brought dramatic political and social changes to Ukraine and it's becoming less and less of the country I left. However, I feel I am still in a very privileged position that allows me to look from a distance at something I know so well from within, a position of a stranger in the familiar. As a place I know and sense Kiev helped me create a consumerism- and cultural cliché-free photographic space, where the location and period are not getting in the way of seeing beyond the surface.
When I initially revisited Kiev in 2006 through the very first photographs of what is now the City of Home I was not looking for a clear definition of the place and the people but turned inwards, establishing the poetics as my reaction against the shallowness of its new commodity culture, while equally looking to express a sense of belonging and care. Gradually this process made me realise that the series is as much about Kiev as it is about a city - about man-made nature and its beauty and greatness which I contemplated with respect. I was looking at it and it was looking back at me with its layers of meaning, yet clarity and pulse.
The work became a search for something more universal, a deeper meaning, a way of grasping, experiencing and expressing a wider intuitive perception or concept: simply put that the world as we know it cannot possibly be it. Through my photographs I am questioning the limitations of what we know about it and ourselves and am looking for visual exit points to other possibilities, another dimension, another reality, another way of thinking. After all, our beliefs and understandings are shaped by the time we are living in, which to me by definition implies that we will never have the “full picture”, whatever that is. Nonetheless, searching for it feels like discovering a secret inside a secret – frankly it feels ecstatic yet perfectly natural.
Allan Fernandes is an Indian Photographer of Goan native and Portuguese ancestry. He works in different photographic genres including portraiture, and is best known for his expansive landscape photographs that delve into the history of human society and their co-relation to the present. Structure, symmetry, design and composition are centre-stage to all his photographs; often encapsulating the viewer to a soothing, calm, serene and divine atmosphere.
An alumni of St. Andrew’s, he studied photography at the National Institute of Photography.