Polina Shubkina © “HK Top Models”, Hong Kong, 2012

Polina Shubkina © “HK Top Models”, Hong Kong, 2012

 Polina Shubkina © “HK Top Models”, Hong Kong, 2012

Polina Shubkina © “HK Top Models”, Hong Kong, 2012

HK Top Models

In 2012 I was following around and photographing a group of international models from the ex-Soviet countries at a time, based in Hong Kong. This documentary project captures scenes from their everyday lives.

 Polina Shubkina © “Russian Dream”, Yekaterinburg, 2012

Polina Shubkina © “Russian Dream”, Yekaterinburg, 2012

 Polina Shubkina © “Russian Dream”, Yekaterinburg, 2012

Polina Shubkina © “Russian Dream”, Yekaterinburg, 2012

Russian Dream

The Russian Dream series is a very personal exploration of cultural stereotypes, which combines the elements of my real and false memories about home. That staged family portrait creates a portal to my deceptive perception of Russia today.

Back then, the teachers of youth were low standard western films and stories from parents and grandparents about the life in the country that stopped its existence.

Being born during "Perestroika," I was growing up in the uncertainty of what it means to be Russian.

There is a particular focus on one character, which has become the protagonist of my narrative. By photographing him in the variety of scenes and environments, I am creating a fictional documentary to analyze the reasons for my personal, cultural alienation. Artistic manipulation of the atmosphere of commonplace scenes of everyday life of a small Russian town opens up new horizons that stretch beyond what we see and filled with profound and unique psychological and conceptual meaning.

The idea of reconstruction of cultural and personal memories, using photography is heavily affected by our imagination, works like human memory itself. The combination of documentary and re-created imagery in one body of work explores where photography lies in the continuum between truth and fiction. The narrative is a profoundly subjective attempt to clarify the mystery of the Russian soul for the sake of building missing self-identity.

 Polina Shubkina © “Insomnia”, Hong Kong, 2013

Polina Shubkina © “Insomnia”, Hong Kong, 2013

 Polina Shubkina © “Insomnia”, Hong Kong, 2013

Polina Shubkina © “Insomnia”, Hong Kong, 2013

Insomnia

She enters my home with velvet steps, as usual, gets comfortable in

the darkest corner of my bedroom.

Without turning the lights on, without any questions. Insomnia

moved in with my family when I was born.

We went together through every little stage of my existence.

Her face changes every night; I think of it as of my twin sister that I

never had and never wanted. My heart is in her hands.

I hope she will get bored of me one day and finally will move out

from this city, apartment and more importantly, from this head.

 Polina Shubkina and Skene Milne © “The Color Studies”, Hong Kong, 2013

Polina Shubkina and Skene Milne © “The Color Studies”, Hong Kong, 2013

 Polina Shubkina and Michael Patterson © “The Color Studies”, Hong Kong, 2012

Polina Shubkina and Michael Patterson © “The Color Studies”, Hong Kong, 2012

The Color Studies

“Color meanings are grounded in two basic sources: learned associations that develop from repeated pairings of colors with particular messages, concepts, or experiences; and biologically based proclivities to respond to particular colors in particular ways in particular situations.” (Color and Psychological Functioning; Andrew J. Elliot and Markus A. Maier; the University of Rochester and University of Munich, Munich, Germany)

Since the early 1940s, the color was a target of psychological research.

Most existing works on color and its perception are driven by practical purposes of marketing and branding. As opposed to scientific research, Color Studies Series represents artistic research that examines personal associations with a given color. Every image from the series can be viewed as an independent visual essay, which combines various cultural and historical references with a commentary on certain contemporary issues.

This project is a collaboration of Polina Shubkina and Skene Milne, except for the "Color: Black" image, which is a collaboration between Polina Shubkina and Michael Patterson.

 Polina Shubkina © “Delirium Tremens”, Hong Kong, 2014

Polina Shubkina © “Delirium Tremens”, Hong Kong, 2014

 Polina Shubkina © “Delirium Tremens”, Hong Kong, 2014

Polina Shubkina © “Delirium Tremens”, Hong Kong, 2014

Delirium Tremens

I believe that at least once in a lifetime everyone got drunk, deliberately or not. And because, for the majority of people, alcohol consumption takes place in the evening, the following night sometimes might be full of surprises. Especially when you live alone.

You get to learn about yourself, your body, your brain.

You get to learn about the visual effects it is capable of while you are in between of being awake and blacked out. When you, most likely, the regret of what you’ve done and sworn to yourself that you would never drink again.

This short film depicts a personal visual experience of alcoholic intoxication. The shots of different liquids in a variety of states become a metaphor for brain’s submersion in alcohol. The element of drunken anticipation represented through a combination of meaninglessly repetitious fragments, usually vibrant and highly saturated.

The piece could be looped and shown as a continuous video-installation. In that case, the repetition of the narrative would translate the message of an unstoppable endless circle, being a bitter parable of alcoholism.

 Polina Shubkina © “Vietnam 1973”, Yekaterinburg, 2015

Polina Shubkina © “Vietnam 1973”, Yekaterinburg, 2015

 Polina Shubkina © “Vietnam 1973”, Yekaterinburg, 2015

Polina Shubkina © “Vietnam 1973”, Yekaterinburg, 2015

Vietnam 1973

Last summer I finally found time to scan about seventy rolls of black and white film, which my grandfather shot during his military service in Vietnam, between 1972 and 1973.

I was only six years old when he passed away, which means that I never had a chance to ask him about his time there. Scanning and working on the sequence of these photographs was a very intimate experience; It gave me an opportunity to get to know him better.

September 2015

Almost Home

A late night urban commute takes a seemingly dark and mysterious left turn.

Produced by Michael Rush and Polina Shubkina
Director of Photography and Editor - Michael Rush
Art Director - Polina Shubkina
Stylist - Katie Dyus
Score and Sound Design - Michael Rush
Featuring Alexey Bachin, Lily Cheung, and Kara Jam

©2017 michaelrushstudio.com

 Polina Shubkina © “Night Route”, Prague, 2018

Polina Shubkina © “Night Route”, Prague, 2018

 Polina Shubkina © “Night Route”, Prague, 2018

Polina Shubkina © “Night Route”, Prague, 2018

Night Route

While living in Hong Kong, I have met Michael Wolf on several occasions. I enjoyed him talking about the process of the Tokyo Compression series.

It's been four years since I moved back to Europe, yet that desire to photograph strangers behind the glass of transport was still strong.

Prague was a perfect city, to begin with, because of its state-of-art public transportation system. The Night Route is an on-going project; I choose shooting at night because of my particular interest in human behavior and emotions in the states of fatigue and intoxication.

 Polina Shubkina ©

Polina Shubkina ©

 Polina Shubkina ©

Polina Shubkina ©

I have been professionally photographing events (night-clubs, parties, conferences, boutique openings) since I moved to Hong Kong in 2011. However, I got into shooting poker tournaments last summer, which happened by chance. About three years ago, one of my close friends, a world-famous poker player, and coach introduced me to a professional poker photographer, who lives and works in the Czech Republic. We kept in touch and this spring it happened so that she asked me to replace her at one of the casino gigs, I agreed and kept getting gigs since then.

I love photographing poker tournaments, because of my documentary photography experience.

During my Master's Degree in photography program at SCAD, I mainly was working on building a documentary portfolio, while getting fashion and portraiture gigs on the side. With over eight years of experience in various genres, I am dedicated to photographing people, and poker tournaments are the best place to capture raw human emotions in a friendly, yet professional environment. I started with Kings Casino in Rozvadov (Czech Republic), and currently photographing for Rebuy Stars Casinos in Prague.