Olga Tuponogova-Volkova

12 May 2023 — 06 August 2023
  • Olga Tuponogova-Volkova. Splash

Erarta Museum presented an exhibition by Olga Tuponogova-Volkova showcasing a series of emotionally charged black and white portraits of film and theatre actors, models, and Paralympic athletes

  • A photographer whose images appeared in Vogue Portugal, Vogue Mexico, Condé Nast Traveler, Tatler, AD, GQ, Marie Claire, InStyle, and many other print media

  • Nearly 40 photographs featuring water as a full-fledged protagonist, symbol of purity, nature, and life itself

  • An attempt to capture a genuine reaction to the kiss of a natural element


Olga Tuponogova-Volkova was among the few professional photographers instrumental in the inception of Russian glossy magazine publishing. The present-day industry crisis caught her literally in the creative prime. Tuponogova-Volkova is an all-round professional, equally well versed in the secrets of product photography and nuances of working with models, actors or Paralympic athletes. Her extensive commercial and fashion shooting experience, coupled with the fundamental knowledge of her trade acquired during studies, were bound to sooner or later find expression in independent creative projects.

Nowadays Olga Tuponogova-Volkova never shies away from admitting that everything has been photographed already. That said, her own creative project Wet took more than four years to complete, demonstrating that there is no limit to perfection or the search for it. The artist is just as unabashed to use the word ‘beautiful.’ The series of black and white portraits of celebrities drenched in water was inspired by a humorous observation: while flipping through a book of wet dog pictures, Olga noted that a wet spitz is no longer a spitz, but a completely different being. Apart from purely formal beauty achieved with professional lighting and the devices of fine art photography, the series is also extremely emotional. Even though water streaming down human faces and hair is in itself an interesting object to shoot, the photographer focuses not so much on it, but rather on the fluid emotional states – human reactions to the kiss of the natural element, even if artificially contrived in the studio.

Olga describes the series that formed the backbone of the Splash exhibition at Erarta Museum thus: ‘To me, water is the symbol of purity, nature, and life. My project is an attempt to see people through the water prism: changed by it, resisting it, and beautiful – both in spite of and thanks to it. Or maybe it was an attempt to see people for what they are? Water became a full-fledged protagonist here: models had difficulty opening their eyes, seeing and breathing because of it. Water was everywhere: either excessive or deficient, it provided just the right setting for me to capture something genuine and lively. I was truly lucky to have all of my sitters accept this challenge without knowing how difficult it would be for each of them.’

about the artist
In 2004, Olga Tuponogova-Volkova completed Joris van Velzen’s professional photography course. Member of the Union of Fine Art Photographers of Russia since 2007, she frequently teaches workshops at Moscow’s leading photography schools. In 2011, Olga was the only Russian photographer to take part in the photo shoot of Elizabeth Taylor's jewellery collection, later to be auctioned at Christie’s. Today, Tuponogova-Volkova’s track record boasts commissions from global brands (BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar, L'Oreal, Adidas, Reebok, Avon), Russian glossies (Vogue, Glamour, Tatler, AD, GQ, Marie Claire, InStyle), and international fashion and lifestyle magazines (Vogue Portugal, Vogue Mexico, Condé Nast Traveler).
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