In 2003 I had a friend named Anya. She lived in some sad neighbourhood on the outskirts of Moscow. One time we've been chilling next to local McDonalds and she was like "hey! see a cigarette butt? Let's finish smoking this one!". I was going to her house parties, but not even talking to people, just reading her parent's bookshelf. After another sleepover I saw there a guy eating handcream in the morning, coz he thought it's some yogurt or whatever. With Anya we went to a graveyard once and I took these with my mom's camera. In 2007 or 8 I was taking pictures with Nokiaphone, this one turned out to be ok - it's a towel my family got on vacation somewhere. Around the same time I tried using digital SLR, but didn't really like it. I also got my hands on some tiny weird device that worked from button batteries and had memory of about 10 mb. You had to be in a perfect lighting situation to get anything except for black rectangle with it - this one was made in the middle of a snow field and it still looks like I've been taking photos of a TV screen. It's some deteriorating farm or like storage. In 2008 I went to Maxim's gig in the south of Russia with my then-gf and took a couple of pictures with my phone and a strange panoramic shot with my granddad's film camera. I still don't get why it turned out to be so elongated, maybe I've just cropped the upper part to bring all attention to the person on the stage. Five years later it turned out she was my gf's tenant in Moscow for a while. I remember visiting my then-gf's friend's place. He was living in a house that was all falling apart and hoarded with things and litter, drinking all day and getting money by renting out some rooms on a pay-per-hour rate. It was the end of a day and I ran out of film and my phone battery. Managed to take just one random picture of this dude. I was told he was some kind of satanist, boiling kittens and stuff. We drank something that was a mix of bad quality ethanol and sugar sirup. Starting late 2007 till late 2011 I've been using 3 or 4 different film cameras. I just went to house parties and some other weird social events in Moscow taking pictures of people and objects there. Everyone still lived in these kind of post-soviet interiors - wallpapers, heavy curtains and romanian furniture - and was dressing up like it's still 80s. In the end it all boiled down to a few people I was having the most fun time with and they were letting me photograph them in any whatever fucked up state we've all been in. Here's what I documented back then without any particular order. Summer 2010 I was walking around the Russian countryside with bottles of lighter fluid, setting things on fire. Yeah, and summer 2009 I took some photos from a moving car. And summer 1969 my granddad, former WW2 pilot went on a trip to St.Petersburg and took pictures of some fountains and statues. Winter 2010 or maybe earlier I started making short videos, splitting them frame by frame later to pick up the right shot. So you make like a 5 second video and it results in 125 frames to choose from. I tried to make a very sad project with this technique while getting over a break-up. I called the whole thing "a few nights, more days". Most of the stills from there were lost or somehow deleted after my cat has fallen asleep on the laptop. Somewhere 2010 I've published a magazine with pretentious name. It was all about taking a picture with other means than conventional camera. The reception was in a concept store in Moscow, coz there were basically no other outlets for such kind of thing at the time and we all agreed it's kind of chill to do it at the store, coz fashion industry was the biggest deal in Moscow back then and everyone wanted to, tried to or was fashion-related. At some point in 2010/11 I grew tired of scanning rolls of film and almost entirely switched to photo mode of my handycam. It had a flash unit located superclose to the lens, almost on it, and it somehow made photos taken with it look very intense, like you're blinding and immobilizing your subject with a direct spotlight. Also I made a 10-second video of one of my best friends saying pretty important things in a good way and shown it at the repurposed factory building in Moscow, one that was previously making crystal tableware. Yeah, and I wrote an explanation for chinese zodiacal signs. In 2011 I've printed out a stack of A4 papers with a picture of dog's paw on it and called it "dog show". I took a photograph of a sad surfer in Sims3. I also pulled 3 images of white minivans/suvs off the internet and put them above my bed. I didn't know about the white SUV craze in the middle east and it seemed funny that a car that's supposed to seem ├╝berluxurious looks like a delivery van. The same year I've enormously blown up a photograph of three 50+ karate students and illegally exhibited it alongside with some chopped bricks at the Second Moscow Watch Factory "Slava" one day prior to it's demolition. I've left everything where I put it, thinking of a power shovel ripping thru it the next day. In 2012 I've found a piece of audio, where someone with a thick accent tells how to create a source of infinite energy with a lighter. I saw two people feeding a baby squirrel and making it pee in a bar in Berlin. And I made a promotional t-shirt with a depressing picture of a hotel room for Asher Penn's Sexmagazine. It was shown at Times at the pre-launch party, then I was wearing it as a night shirt till the film peeled off. Also I made green screen motion backgrounds for Dora and Maja's performance at Bethanien and shot a bunch of videos on my Nokiaphone. 2 years later backgrounds were exhibited @ the Henningsen Gallery in Copenhagen. Somehow in 2012 I've gotten hold of a space in the sculpture department of academy of fine arts vienna and installed a show there. Archery target chained to a flipchart stand is filled with bubble wrap and called "good luck, Katniss", coz this is what Madge Undersee says to her while exchanging goods 4 $. I also wrote a little poem and read it at the opening. Winter 2012 I exhibited a looped DinoDirect advert instead of a work at the Polytechnic Museum in Moscow. I also had like a japanese-style scroll with some news feed on it, but it all got messed up due to transportation and it looked like a cheap corporate calender anyway, so I've decided not to show it and just played some techno at the afterparty. November 2012 I've typeset one important comment on ECCO shoes to exhibit it in a Preteen Gallery satellite show@HHDM, but gallery owners annoyed the fuck out of the curator, things didn't go as planned and that sucked a lot, coz I already had a great outfit assembled for the occasion. I took these and switched from Nokia to iphone. In 2013 I pretended to be a feminist of color on Facebook for a while and designed these fake book covers on her account. I made a google sketchup sculpture of a family fight aftermath involving garden furniture. I used the last data download received from the KiwiSat 202 satellite transmitter glued to the emperor penguin's back as my business card. Also I exhibited this proposal in the show at the electronics market in Moscow and this candle we've 3D printed with my gf at Team Titanic Gallery in Berlin. Summer 2013 I was the vampire at Ed's POOL PARTY. In the end of the year I found and edited some political cartoons depicting a stone avalanche, like the ones where you have a little man running away from a lavine where each stone has some text like "nuclear arms" or "taxes" written on it. In 2014 I've made two questionnaires, one is based on that show where a dude is getting silicon calf implants and post-surgery he's like "I'm gonna put my shorts and bowling shoes on and go pick up some chicks!" and the other one is for lonely old women, but I guess is applicable to everyone. I've ordered doves for AIRBNB pavillon at the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale, but all they got was a chicken. I also edited a short film out of a brothel advert, got 112 haircutting pictures, played some house music and made this text piece. Yeah, and here's a film I've made about the flooding of Fitzgerald's Casino in Tunica, MS.

Rectangular photos that I take with my phone are mostly on fb and square ones are on insta. My gf's taking pretty good photos as well, like this one for example.

Ilya Smirnov


New York, USA