Based in Russia, Uldus Bakhtiozina is a photographer who asks ordinary people to model for elaborately staged and surreal portraits. Full of color, whimsy, and drama, her images inspire wonder while rebuffing cultural stereotypes. Through art and imagination, Bakhtiozina, a 2014 TED Fellow, offers a window into the “real” Russia.
Uldus Bakhtiozina is a visual artist currently living and working in Russia. She was born in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) to a Muslim father and Christian mother. She studied photography at the University of Arts, London, and got her start in art and fashion photography in the UK. She has also lived and worked in Indonesia, India, and Nepal, before returning to Moscow and opening a visual arts studio. Bakhtiozina currently specializes in photo-based art, fashion photo shoots, and music videos. Her photos have appeared in Vogue Italy, among other places, and her art has been exhibited in London, Berlin, and Moscow.
The Real Russia Art, Creativity, and Love
In a talk that transcends borders, Uldus Bakhtiozina draws on her work—her photographs based on pre-Raphaelite paintings of the 19th century—to offer a spectacular view into the lives of real Russians, and the real Russia. She shares the stories behind her best-known photos, including an image of a 12-year-old boy wearing a Stormtrooper mask and a pink tutu, and she motivates audiences, especially young women, to be brave, and to fight for their goals and dreams, regardless of any adversity they might face.