Pavel Petrovich Bazhov was the most prominent writer from the Urals in the twentieth century. During the soviet period his works were considered to be on the same level as Pushkin’s. Aleksandr Ptushko’s film, based on one of Bazhov’s works, The Stone Flower, won an award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1947. Millions of viewers watched his film in theatres around the world. As it gained fame, illustrations and souvenirs were made portraying characters from this film, demonstrating its influence. However, these are not the only forms of visual art used to portray characters from Bazhov’s tales.

This gallery contains photographs created by artists from China, Japan, France, and Russia. The international artists are not familiar with the Ural writer, Bashov. Furthermore, the photographs displayed here by Russian artists were also taken without intentional connection to his stories, despite the widespread familiarity with his work among Russians. One can interpret the photographs in this gallery through the lense of Bazhov’s stories or as independent works of art.

In legends, the mundane and the fantasy of the imagination live side by side. Magical powers intervene in the characters’ lives, remind them of morality, and reward or punish their actions. This mysterious power of nature seeks to protect its wealth. In Bazhov’s stories, nature is often personified as an animal such as a lizard, snake, deer, owl, or cat. One of his main ideas is that nature does not seek to exploit mankind, but will protect itself by punishing thoughtless greed. In this way, Bazhov’s message rings true with current movements to protect the environment.


Kazuaki Koseki (Japan)





I’m shooting the landscape of Yamagata, Japan. While feeling with the “five senses” the four seasons in Yamagata of Japan living now, I am photographing the world weaving the mountains, the forest and the river. If my picture is delivered to the heartline of the viewer’s heart, that is a pleasure. 

Kazuaki Koseki was born in 1977 in Yamagata, Japan. PX3 Paris Photography Prize 2018 Silver, Bronze. World Photographic Cup 2018 Japan representative photographer. 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year contest editors’ favorite


Kazuaki Koseki (Japan) From the series "Firefly"



In the world of Bazhov’s tales, factories and the forest are contrasted as the mundane and the magical. The factory’s property is limited and defined, however, the surrounding forest is boundless. People are afraid of the forest, especially being there at night. Our laws, system of power, and money have no meaning there. The main characters of Bazhov’s stories often have magical powers. He describes the actions of the Mistress of the Copper Mountain like those of a stone forest: “The tree is cold and smooth like polished stone. Other plants can also be stone-like. In the glades one can find a clearing where there are stone flowers. You only find such beauty once in a lifetime.” The forest is a haven with nowhere else to escape from the injustices of life.


Benoit Lapray (France)




Nature and wild landscapes are inexhaustible subjects in photography. Each place is singular and changes constantly: from one minute, from one hour, from one day, from one season or from one year to the next... Nature surprises us constantly because it is alive, in constant evolution. For plants the evolution is quite fast, but for the minerals the evolution is much slower.

In the Forest of Fontainebleau (located in France in the Paris region), amidst trees and vegetation, lie huge rocks with strange shapes. They are fascinating and seem straight from the sky. Their zoomorphic shapes are incredible. They look like wild animals or imaginary creatures. A few million years have transformed the sediments present here (from the time when the sea completely covered the landscape) into huge blocks of sandstone that the elements have shaped over time. Nature has done its work.

Benoit Lapray was born in 1980 in Bourgogne, France. Studied Art, Journalistic Communication and Photography at school (in Lyon, France). Now based in Paris, working as Advertising, Editorial and Fine Art Freelance Photographer, and also as Creative Retoucher. He is Adobe Ambassador. "UPC Decouverte" winner in 2007 in France (with architecture shots). Exhibitions: La maison des photographes in Paris, 2008 (collective show). La Galerie des D.A., during the Festival "Les Rencontres de la Photographie" in Arles (France), 2017 (collective show). La Maison d'Ailleurs, European Museum of Sci-Fi (Yverdon-les-Bains in Switzerland), 2018 (collective show). Maison des Arts Rosa Bonheur in Chevilly-Larue (South of Paris), 2018 (collective show).




Benoit Lapray (France). From the series "Vestiges"





Near Polevsky and Ekaterinburg there are small mountains. They are unique in shape and covered in forest. These mountains set a special scene for one of Bazhov’s stories: “We don’t have a lot of flat land. We have mountains and valleys, valleys and mountains. So many, that you can’t pass through them by car or on foot.” The mountain tests man and knows his true essence: “The mountain reflects human power. One who spends their whole life on flat ground may never learn of their strength. But once they find themselves in the mountains, they will understand what they are able to do. However, the mountains will show a weak person that they are weak and incapable.” In his childhood, Bazhov thought of the mountains as alive, like a sleeping bear.



Denis Tarasov (Russia)

Scraps of Sleep about Edelweiss


In the twentieth century many attempts were made to find the connection between dreams and myths. Both dreams and mythology are difficult to classify scientifically. Images from dreams are ghostlike and do not always have clear forms. Memories from dreams often get mixed up with one another, creating a complex memory of an unexplainable experience. The same thing happens to myths when they are told from one person to another across generations. The story lives in spoken word and changes over time. The characters travel to otherworldly realms and interact with gods. Therefore, recording a myth on paper inherently kills the part of it that is alive.

Denis Tarasov’s photographs were taken specifically for this exhibition at Mart Center of Photography. They are dream-like, not only because of their shadowy silhouettes, but also because of the unique exposure used: the borders of the images are indistinct, they overlap with one another, and the overall shapes are up to the interpretation of the viewer. Similarities may be drawn between images in Tarasov’s work and motifs from Bazhov’s tales, however each viewer should decide for themselves.

Denis Tarasov is the director of the Mart Center of Photography in Ekaterinburg, chairman or the Sverdlovsk branch of the Russian Union of Photographers. He won the Young Photographers of Russian contest (2007), was named a laureate of the international Epochs of Visible Features competition (2007), won the special prize at the international Volga Photobiennial contest (2008), won the international Volga Photobiennial contest (2010), was a participant in Portfolio Review Russia (2011) in Moscow and the Modern Russian Photography: a New Generation Exhibits at the FOTOFEST-2012 Festival in Houston, USA, and participated in the Body Language at the SAATCHI Gallery (London, 2013), PROZAVOD (Center of Photography named for the Lumer Brothers, Moscow, 2015). Overall, from 2007-2015 Tarasov participated in over twenty exhibitions in Russia, Lithuania, Italy, Slovakia, Romania, the United States, the Netherlands, Great Britain and the Philippines.




Denis Tarasov (Russia). From the series "Scraps of Sleep about Edelweiss"


Sergey Utkin (Russia)

Ural Stones


The saturated colors in Sergei Utkin’s photographs are like those on an artist’s palette. It’s hard to believe that a stone, dull and unassuming to the eye, could look this way. However, this is not a fantasy or manipulation of computer software. If stone is looked at through a special and polarizing filter, one can see the beauty of its texture. Within it are a variety of shapes and rhythms which remind one of fantastical creatures. For millennia, people have cut and polished stones, carved them into different forms, and admired how they shine. Photography and science unleash the potential to see stones from a new perspective. This form of art is one that stone crafters of the past could not have imagined.

Sergei Utkin was born in the city of Arti in Sverdlov Oblast, and now lives in Ekaterinburg. He studied medicine and psychology, however he has been interested in nature photography for over 40 years. Utkin is a member of the Russian Union of Photographers and has submitted work in regional, federal, and international photography competitions. He was a finalist in the Golden Turtle and Best Photographer international wildlife photography competitions. For many years he collaborated with the Museum of Nature in Ekaterinburg and with the Biology department of Ural State University. His work has been displayed in photography exhibits at the Metenkov House Museum, the Hygiene Museum, the Regional History Museum of Sverdlovsk Oblast, and the Museum of Gazprom, among others. Exhibits featuring only Utkin’s work include Feathered Parallel, From the Angel Workshop, Winter Fantasy, and These Amusing Birds, among others.


Сергей Уткин. Из серии "Уральские камешки"



When speaking about magic, most cultures distinguish between the fantastical worlds of the sky and those underground. For example, the Ancient Greeks have Olympus and Hades and Christains have Heaven and Hell. A heavenly world is built to help mankind, while the underground one is meant to scare and is associated with death. However, in Bazhov’s tales this distinction is not as evident. On one hand, the mines represent the underground world like the grave of those still alive: “From his youth he was held in the mountain. He mined copper. Like a worm digging around in the dirt. He didn’t see light and he turned completely green. Dampness and darkness.” Although, in the primitive sense, the underground world was similar to the heavenly forest from The Mistress of the Copper Mountain: “You couldn’t see the sun, but it was shining. Between the trees gold snakes flutter as they dance. From them comes the light.” People are sacrilegious, feeding off of the wealth of nature. Secret powers protect this wealth and severely punish anyone who is greedy or unscrupulous. Even for Bazhov’s good characters, meeting the other world ends badly. Despite its glittering appearance, the underground world is full of ghosts and shadows.


Haoran Fan (China)




Working in black and white, with source photographs taken in a variety of locations at different times, I create what are, in a sense, psychological landscapes. For me, black-and- white effaces characteristics of objects but maximizes the mood of entire image, which represents my effort to concentrate all memories which spans about ten years. The finished images are dense and layered, with every part of the frame carrying great details. In several images I place a figure in the midst of this detail. The figure represents me, and is small and often hard to locate at first glance. This is my way of indicating how the experiences that formed these memories were often overwhelming.

This series is a somewhat dreamlike journey of discovering, retrospecting, escaping and prospecting. Through the transformations of space and figures’ ways of interaction, Displacement can be seen as a poetry in which I sway gently in response to the anxiety towards real life.

Haoran Fan was born in 1991 in Yunnan, China. Now lives and works in Shanghai and New York. He owns a bachelor degree in Sociology from Wuhan University and a master degree in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York. Fan has been nominated for the Tokyo International Photo Awards and Fine Art Photography Awards, shortlisted for New York Times Portfolio Review. His works have been selected and exhibited in PULSE Miami Contemporary Art Fair, PHOTOFAIRS Shanghai, Dali International Photography Festival, Angkor Photo Festival, Helac Fine Art (NYC), Robin Rice Gallery (NYC), etc.


Haoran Fan (China). From the series "Displacement"



The most popular character among Pavel Bazhov’s characters is Danilo Master. He finds meaning in life through creativity. He “is unlike anyone else,” because he has such a strong passion for his work: “The chalice isn’t yet completed. I want to carve it, such that the stone contains its full strength.” Danil’s problem is that perfection is not attainable to humankind. Perfection exists in nature, but it is difficult to reveal the secrets of perfection without possessing supernatural powers. Anyone who has seen the stone flower, a representation of perfection in one of Bazhov’s stories, will never be able to appreciate beauty in anything else ever again. In the kingdom of the Mistress of the Copper Mountain, Danil’s dreams come true, but since he is separated from his true love, he is unhappy nonetheless. Bazhov created Danil in the image of a romantic artist, doomed to choose between ideal and imperfect worlds: his unearthly talent or true love. For romantics, nature is like a temple. It requires sacrifice from its patrons.


Alexandra Vesnina (Russia)



“Polynya” is a synonym for self-immersion and attempt to talk about feelings by turning off the speech apparatus. There are simply no terms or explanations for love, death, growing up, and murky forebodings. Nothing is clear or measurable.

All that has been said sounds hackneyed and even silly, like “convection” or “commodity circulation,” so I just stop, close my eyes, exhale, and try to stop the flow of fussy thoughts. Somewhere at the bottom of my sensations, I'm looking for something that sounds loud only in silence. Here, for example, “loneliness” is long, rounded, closed on itself like a large “O” in the inclined figure of a pensive person.

Or love, so different, folds its lips in a bow, smiles, rings in the wind in the grass.

Or maybe fears? Please, be careful, they accidentally jump out of water; suffocate at the edge of the forest, hiss and giggle.

Aging - it seems to be everywhere, in the wet autumn foliage, in the yellowed pages of a book, in summer sunset, in the flowering, stagnant water of a small pond.

For the one who dove deep into himself, the world is not audible. The same for me, only my own feelings, reflected on the surface of black and white pictures, seem important.


Alexandra Vesnina (Russia). From the series "Polynya"



In Bazhov’s tales, women are portrayed as theinfernal embodiment of secret power. They are intrinsically generous, loyal, and selfless. Their beauty grants them divinity in human form. These women are joyous, agile, sharp-witted, and inquisitive, but they are still far off from the royal ways of the Mistress of the Copper Mountain. Men often create rivalry between goddesses and Earth beings. Katrina prevails over the Mistress of the Copper Mountain and returns Danil-Master to life on Earth. Conversely, the hunter Ailyp chooses to hide forever with Golden Hair in Lake Itkul. As researchers have deduced, this fantastical lake is often seen as a symbol of female wonder, death, and mysterious disappearance of the sun at night.



The majority of characters from Bazhov’s fantasytales are unable to manage without the help of mysterious forces. If there is a child, he is an orphan. If there is a worker, he is a peasant and is dependent on his master. In an unequal world, it is good to be the factory director, estate manager, or gold merchant. People are evil and selfish. Only the mysterious power restores the balance of the universe and rewards selflessness, talent, and heartfelt generosity. The passerby (the embodiment of the mysterious forces) shows the main character the faults in his life: “The Holy Bell is not tall, but above it birds fly by, each dropping a feather. This represents your life, old man. You toiled, but your wings are small, weak, and can’t lift you very high.”

Displayed in this exhibition are photographs taken by residents of the town of Sysert in the early twentieth century. Their names and details of their lives are unknown. However, these are the people with whom Bazhov grew up, and whose language and culture he studied. With great certainty we guess that the photographer was Mikhail Ivanovich Kolegov, the first cinema operator in Sysert. The Kolegov family were Bazhov’s neighbors and worked either gold prospectors or laborers.

  Photos of the exhibition © Ekaterina Popova:




Центр фотографии "Март". Екатеринбург. 8 Марта, 1

Время работы: 11.00 - 22.00 без выходных. Цена билета