Boris Smelov

Boris Smelov, 1951-1998

Boris Smelov was a formative genius of Russian underground photography. He was a contemporary of Alexander Slyusarev in Moscow and his counterpart in the historic city of St. Petersburg. Smelov, who died in 1998 at age forty-seven, was the consummate Russian artist. Smelov married a painter and brought up their artistic children (including daughter Maria Snigerevskaya, whose work is also shown by Anahita Gallery) in a house stacked with canvases – living in the Russian equivalent of the bohemian life of New York of the fifties and sixties.

 St. Petersburg is a completely different sort of city than Moscow, characterized by softer light and fogs, and Smelov’s work, though as formal and modern in concept as that of any Moscow photographer, is colored by St. Petersburg’s elegance and moody romanticism. What Smelov did better than any Petersburg artist, however, was to ban self-indulgence entirely from his work, giving it a rigor and precision unmatched in his city or his era. Despite his untimely death, Smelov remains without doubt the finest photographer from St. Petersburg in modern times.

 Just In!
A major retrospective of the work of Boris Smelov opened March 20, 2009 at The Hermitage Museum, St. Pertersburg.
. It was organized by the State Hermitage Museum and pARTnerproject Gallery, Moscow (, with the assistance of Boris Smelov Foundation.

Link to article from The Hermitage