Yelena Yemchuk lives in my heart. OK...well, she actually lives in Brooklyn with her family, but since the first day at Art Center when I met her, she has had a permanent place in my heart. Meeting her was like finding a long lost friend I didn't realize I had. My life has been a better place since that second.
Not only is she a wildly talented photographer (in evidence since the beginning, btw) and painter, she is one of the most innately authentic people I know...the term "salt of the earth" comes to mind but doesn't really cover it somehow.
She just came out with her first book called Yelena Yemchuk:Gidropark published by Damiani a few months ago. I was lucky enough to see this project unfold over the past few years so I am familiar with the images and have seen her thought process evolve and grow around the project. She shot over 5(?) years at a park in Kiev, the city where she was born. She would just wander around and shoot. I love seeing Yelena's documentary work. To think that these scenarios unfold before her - no set up, no prompting or directing people - has always just amazed me. You should pick up a copy of Gidropark. You will be transported to another world.
This portrait of Yelena I took eons ago but it is still one of my favorites of her. I used to shoot a portrait of her every time I saw her. I really miss doing that. Every time I am in NY lately seems to be so chock full that we can only carve out a few moments for coffee or lunch. I am long overdue to photograph her again.
Check out more of Yelena's commercial work at her reps website here. Wish I could find some of her paintings to show but she is updating her website, so I guess another post will be coming when I can share those with you.
Have a great weekend friends. Hope you enjoyed meeting some of my favorite people this week. I know I have enjoyed sharing them with you.