Sergey Kondrashin’s multimedia charity project Underwater Photo Ballet

Photoalbum Underwater Photo Ballet substantially is a unique multimedia project even by world standards. On its 60 pages you can see 23 colour and 19 b/w pictures featuring Latvian ballet soloists Elza Leimane & Raimond Martinov dancing their favourite ballet parts under water! Photographs were taken in 100 percent real underwater environment – without computer manipulations! Smiling faces of Elza and Raimond with eyes wide open are absolutely natural. The photographer notised their very rear gift of brilliant underwater posing while working with the dancers at his personal calendar 2007 in Croatia & then has decided to continue collaboration with these models in underwater direction.

There are also photos token during working moments at the stage and backstage of Latvian National Opera included in the album. These illustrations accentuate surreal effect of underwater photographs. The album does not only includes real peaces of art, but is a peace of art itself. The photographs are printed on a very qualitative heavy paper – different for colour & b/w pictures. Album cover is made of natural silk ordered from London especially for this edition. Hard cover-boxes are hand-made & assembled & are decorated with a ribbon with the album name woven in it. It’s a limited edition of 500 numbered copies.

One of the project’s segments is a videoversion made by videogrpaher Sergey Frolov using the music of young but very talented Latvian group Vic Anselmo. Costume designer Ilze Plikause created special underwater stage lookalike-costumes for underwater shooting of the parts from “Le Corsaire”, “Giselle”,  “Carmen”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Swan Lake”. She used several hundred artificial flowers while making the tutus for  the “Swan Lake” photographing and, by the way, the tutus “survived” underwater photosession.

Part of the albums will be available for purchasal in “Valters un Rapa” book stores chain - preliminary price 70 Ls (100 Euro). You my also buy them online right here on this web site. As already mentioned above, it’s a charity project & for all the money raised from selling the album the photographer will purchase an anaesthetic machine for Riga University Children’s Hospital intensive therapy department. That’s why Sergey Kondrashin thanks in advance everyone, who will buy this rarity edition & thus will help the children, that are hanging between life and death, to come back to life. Sergey is truly grateful to Ugis Stipnieks & Eriks Gromuls for their generous support of this expensive project on the very first stage of its realisation. These people made it from the bottom of their heart not demanding any business-plans or presentations. They demonstrate to others that healthy, successful & well-situatd people, as we and you are in the majority, should sometimes think also about the ones, who are not so lucky in this life. And if for our governmental institutions our children’s health is not a priority, we can improve the situation al least a little bit ourselves. 


The Impossible becomes Possible

One of art’s greatest secrets is the meeting of harmony and paradox. These elements give birth to art that evokes excitement and takes your breath away.

Undoubtedly, ballet is such kind of art. Numerous art historians, artists and poets have written raving lines on how the dancers’ tough work transforms into a grand jeté and pas on the stage. This art ignores the borders of human physical capability in the name of aesthetic pleasure and perfection of performance. Paradoxically, gravity is defeated, and the audience rises in acclamation.

Photography is this type of art as well. Good photography always possesses something of a dance’s virtuosity. It leaves impression of ease and freedom. Photography stops the by-passing moment and maintains intangible emotions, giving them their own independent life. „For the brief moment when I'm pressing the shutter, the subject takes over and I'm simply the means for capturing it on a film. I think it's right to say that these photos are an unmannered visual monologue of my life, arguably more personal that what I do onstage,“ says world-famous ballet dancer and choreographer and Riga native Mikhail Baryshnikov of his own black and white photographs (his photo exhibition toured the world and was shown also in Latvia National Opera, 2006).

Just like the art of ballet, photography is a victory too — a victory over light and shade, colors and forms, over natural conditions and technical restrictions. Especially in those cases when a photographer’s insight and mastery invites us into a fantastic world — the one that he has created just for his photograph.

These secrets of art are in your hands. Together, ballet stars Elza Leimane and Raimonds Martinovs and photographer Sergey Kondrashin have created a visionary and paradoxical world, where rational time has been stopped for a second. Prosaic laws are canceled for a moment, and instead only those rules created by the authors are valid. The water as the element, where we are just guests, by accepting these rules and playing along, takes part in the creation of this fantastic world. It adds an extra dimension to the work that makes the viewer exclaim, „But this is not possible!“ The impossible becomes possible. But the secret of art still stays unexposed.

Alise Tīfentāle
Magazine „Foto Kvartāls“, editor-in-chief

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