Gusov Sasha

Would you buy a fine art print?

Sasha Gusov was born in 1960 in Taganrog in the family of an engineer. Young Sasha Gusov got his first photographic knowledge thanks to his uncle, a school photographer, with whom he spent time during school holidays. With him, he learned the processes of developing and printing film, mastered the art of portrait lighting, and acquired an interest in photographic equipment.
In the 1980s, Sasha Gusov already lived in Moscow and was a member of the Moscow City Committee of Graphic Artists. This allowed him to remain a free photographer, and also opened up rare access to the Western photographic press, inaccessible to the average Soviet citizen. Gusov’s favourite magazine was the British Journal of Photography. Even then, he dreamed of one day seeing how his own works adorn the pages of this magazine.
Gusov lived with the dream of leaving the Soviet Union to become a famous successful photographer. A lucky acquaintance with foreign tourists on Red Square allowed him to quickly receive an invitation to the UK, and subsequently a visa. The farewell was very grand. Moscow artists, poets, writers, in whose circle Gusov was at that time, gave him a farewell evening at the House of Writers. So, in 1989, Gusov changed his life, taking a step into the unknown, leaving the Soviet Union forever and with a one-way ticket ended up in London.
The beginning of a new stage of life was not easy for the future photographer. But it seems that a happy accident always accompanies Gusov as a reward for his perseverance and incredible enthusiasm. Having changed many professions in an attempt to make a living, he met the photographer Andrew MacPherson, thanks to whom he got a job at the photo studio, Roy Snell. This gave Gusov, who by that time had already begun to take portraits of young actors and musicians, the opportunity not only to meet famous British photographers but also to use the studio to work on his own projects.
Gusov began an outstanding ballet series in terms of its visual expressiveness as a personal project, almost accidentally finding himself behind the scenes of the London Albert Hall. He recalls how in 1992 he heard that the Bolshoi was coming to London on tour and he decided: «that’s it, it’s time to start».
«I came to the Royal Opera House, lied at the entrance that I was also from the Bolshoi. We missed it. I went straight into the hall, saw Grigorovich, who was watching the rehearsal on stage. I came up and said: «Hello, Yuri Nikolaevich.» He asks: «Who are you?» — «I am Sasha. I’m a photographer. I want to shoot a report about your tour. «He: «Please do. Go, shoot. »
During the month that Gusov spent with the Bolshoi Theater, he worked almost daily on various aspects of the project, filming about 500 Kodak Tri-X films … that’s about 18,000 negatives. He shot rehearsals, performances, sat with the orchestra in the pit, took portraits … Gusov says: «They (the dancers of the Bolshoi Theater) left. I have the best material left. I went with him to that British Journal of Photography. They gave me a U-turn. If in Moscow, someone told me that I would be published in the British Journal of Photography, I would die of happiness! »
So, with ballet, the path to photography of Sasha Gusov began. He continues filming the Bolshoi in 2004, 2013, 2016. Taking inspiration from, among other things, the work of Jacques Henri Lartigue, Terry O’Neill and old black and white cinema, Gusov prefers monochrome images. On the one hand, his ballet photographs perfectly convey the dynamics and expressiveness of the dance and vision, and at the same time, they are entirely unclassical in their spirit. Among them, there are excellent staged portraits, and bewitching, subtly captured shots of rehearsals and performances. Filmed on the go and without additional lighting, they captivate with their spectacularity. Sasha Gusov’s ballet photographs for more than 25 years of work have been combined into the overwhelmingly successful albums The Bolshoi Ballet (2016) and The Bolshoi (2017), which sold out entirely in the first few months of sales.
After the spread in The British Journal of Photography, Gusov began receiving job offers from the English National Ballet, Royal Opera House, Royal National Theater, the Daily Telegraph, the Times, Conde Nast Traveler, Vogue, ELLE, and Cosmopolitan. He collaborated with the auction houses Sotheby’s and Christie’s, worked with the stars of cinema, music, politics: Jude Law, Evan McGregor, Judy Dench, Pierce Brosnan, Harry Oldman, Boris Berezovsky, Valery Gergiev, Vladimir Spivakov were in his lens, Mstislav Rostropovich and Queen Elizabeth II herself. Gusov has published several books, including Shooting images (2001), Locusts (2008), Belarus. Terra Incognita (2010), Photographs (2012), 25 Years in Photography (2014), People like us (2017), Michelangelo (2019).
As the filmmaker and great friend of Gusov, Andrei Konchalovsky, with whom the photographer is connected by many years of experience of cooperation, writes: «Gusov’s photographs are not a reflection of life, but that unique coincidence of circumstances in time and space that a man with a camera» caught «. In sensual, catchy and often ironic photographs, we see the author himself. Humour, lightness and adventurism, love of truth and the present — this is the whole thing Sasha Gusov.
Gusov’s last book, Michelangelo (2019), was made on the set of Konchalovsky’s film Sin, where Gusov was the only guest photographer. The book was a huge success and was appreciated at the highest level — the edition was donated to Pope Francis by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the book was sold out in a matter of months.


«Bolshoi ballet by Sasha Gusov», The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography, Moscow

«The Kiss», The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography, Moscow

«PROzavod», The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography, Moscow

«COMEDY OF MANNERS. Photographer Sasha Gusov», The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography, Moscow

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