Julia Borissova in White Blonde (Borissova, 2018) is telling a story about Antarctica – she says, ‘though my series I aimed to convey a feeling of he hostile and unfamiliar environment of the South Pole, creating images where the geographic reality give way to the space of dream’. She has used a combination of archival photographs, found objects and self images to explore personal and collective history. The book is short, consisting of just over 20 images. Some are full bleed, some across 2 pages and other overlap each other. They are given consistency by their tonal range, whites, pale blues, greys, beiges and black. The only bright colour (red) is in the additional print sent with the book which shows crimson folded hearts with a portrait of a woman – I assumed it was a self-portrait however now know it is actually part of Borissova’s series Lullaby for a Bride. Most of the images are blurred or overlaid with what looks like ice. In reality Borissova did actually freeze the images to get this effect, ‘to be part of the landscape to express a sense of awareness of time’ (Arena, s.d.). Borissova calls her self-portraits ‘icebergs’. The overall feeling is of age, confusion, and exhaustion in a strange landscape. It is not clear whether or not Borissova has visited Antarctica, although I do not think so.
Her images are available in the book white blonde, on her website as single images and as a slideshow. Interestingly, the order of the images is different between the book and the slideshow, they are often cropped differently (all the images in the slideshow are square and this was the original format) and not all images occur in both. The book and the slideshow are complimentary, not equal but additive.
The book requires careful examination. On my first viewing I found if difficult to follow. Some of the images are beautiful, others are confusing, some are clear, some are abstract. On multiple views I found myself sucked into the cold and the ice. They are a meditation rather than a clear story and are worth reviewing time and again.
With thanks to Julia Borissova for additional information and pointing me towards the review on Landscape Stories.
Arena, G. (s.d.) Landscape Stories | Julia Borissova – Nautilus // Let Me Fall Again // White Blonde. At: http://magazine.landscapestories.net/en/books/book-reviews/julia-borissova (Accessed 20/05/2020).
Borissova, J. (2018). White blonde. S.L.: Bessard.
Borissova, J. (n.d.). White Blonde. [online] http://www.juliaborissova.ru. Available at: http://www.juliaborissova.ru/Julia_Borissova_PhotoSite/Projects/Pages/White_Blonde.html [Accessed 17 Apr. 2020].