Last year, German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans travelled to Russia to meet members of the LGBT community in Saint-Petersburg, an inspiring group of young men and women who risk their jobs and more to promote change. Here he photographs ten extraordinary individuals and interviews them on the current attitudes to LGBT people in the country, and why it is so hard to be publicly out in Russia.
Wolfgang Tillmans was born in 1968 in West-German city of Remshide, near Dusseldorf. He went to his loved-from-childhood England in 1983 to study English. First photographic success came to Tillmans in 1987 in Hamburg, where he was working for local youth magazines. He came to England again, in 1990, to study Art and Design in the Bournemouth College. After finishing studies, he was living in London, working for the fashion magazine "i-D". From 1994, he lives and works in NY. He has got more than 20 personal exhibitions in prestigious museums and galleries of Europe and America. He is being published in popular youth issues like "The Face" and "intwerview" as well as in respectable issues like “Stern” amongst others. In 1998 the biggest art-publishing house "Tashen", specialised mainly on "classic" photography publishing, issued Tillmans’ "Burg" album, which indeed could be counted as an early recognition of his talent, that may become one of iconic figures in contemporary photography.
After making a debut in "iD" in early 90s, Wolfgang has gradually become one of the most influenced photographers of his generation. Now his photos can be seen in magazines, galleries and in private collections worldwide. However, portraits made by Tillmans, still cannot be classified and despite seeming to be staged, they save elusiveness of the moment. Photograph is always looking for new things or persons for his portraits, landscapes, still life pictures. He approaches to all these traditional genres with all-out openness, enriching them with his own free formalism and perception.