Oleksandr Demianenko’s work is best examined with care and an eye for detail. While looking at his photo of a bookshelf, one can almost hear a creaking door or distant footsteps – while his photo of a beachside palm brings the sound of waves lapping against the shoreline and the cry of gulls to the forefront of the imagination. The experience of studying these photos is largely an immersive one. Though we may not know exactly where each one of the photos were taken, through a carefully examination of each photo, we can easily imagine that we are there.
Demianenko was born in 1985 in Ukraine, but now resides in Tbilisi, Georgia. He shoots a variety of different film and analog formats.
The primitive nature of his photos brings forth a certain stark realism. The sense of movement created by the distortion and blur in many of the images contributes to this realism, giving viewers the feeling that they are seeing the image from their own eyes, perhaps while clumsily hiking along on foot.
As for his interest in photography, Demianenko says that his main inspiration is to create a way to “cheat death”. He relishes the idea that even when he no longer exists, pieces of his experience will live on through his photos. “Each time I click the shutter, I am able to capture a bit of beauty from life” he says.
This idea of the image as an actual fragment of reality rather than a simple representation is reminiscent of Susan Sontag’s critical theory on the image. As she stated in her essay the image world, “ images are indeed able to usurp reality because first of all a photograph is not only an image (as a painting is an image), an interpretation of the real; it is also a trace, something directly stenciled off the real, like a footprint or a death mask.”
Indeed, we would certainly classify Demianenko’s images as usurpers of the real. They have a certain haunting quality to them – perhaps even more haunting than the reality that they are stenciled from.