ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Uldus Bakhtiozina - Artist, visionary
TED Fellow Uldus Bakhtiozina creates photo stories and video installations that challenge stereotypes and create diversity, involving all types of people from fashion models to ordinary people. She presents the world with humor and thoughtfulness.

Why you should listen

Uldus Bakhtiozina is an artist and filmmaker who lives and works in Russia. Born in Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, into a Muslim-Christian family, Bakhtiozina studied and worked in London in graphic design and photography before settling on her unique style which mixes folklore, history, fashion and challenging stereotypes. Calling her style "Tatar Baroque," in part because she is half Tatar, Bakhtiozina has a passion for irregularity, and she says that her work documents dreams. Bakhtiozina creates everything inside her analogue photography and films, from outfits to stages, to fulfill the story behind each of her creations. None of her works have been digitally manipulated.

More profile about the speaker
Uldus Bakhtiozina | Speaker | TED.com
TED2014

Uldus Bakhtiozina: Wry photos that turn stereotypes upside down

Filmed:
1,545,113 views

Artist Uldus Bakhtiozina uses photographs to poke fun at societal norms in her native Russia. A glimpse into Russian youth culture and a short, fun reminder not to take ourselves too seriously.
- Artist, visionary
TED Fellow Uldus Bakhtiozina creates photo stories and video installations that challenge stereotypes and create diversity, involving all types of people from fashion models to ordinary people. She presents the world with humor and thoughtfulness. Full bio

Double-click the English transcript below to play the video.

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Good afternoon.
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My name is Uldus.
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I am a photo-based artist from Russia.
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I started my way around six years ago
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with ironic self-portraits
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to lay open so many stereotypes
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about nationalities, genders,
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and social issues —
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["I am Russian. I sell drugs, guns, porno with kids!"]
["Vodka = water. I love vodka!"] (Laughter) —
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using photography as my tool to send a message.
["Marry me, I need a visa."]
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Today, I am still performing in front of the camera
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and trying to be brave like Wonder Woman.
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I focus on balancing meaningful message,
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aesthetic, beauty, composition,
some irony, and artifacts.
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Today, I'm going to tell you about my project,
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which is named Desperate Romantics.
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They're my artifacts, or paintings
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from pre-Raphaelites Brotherhood England
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mid-19th century.
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I took the painting
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and gifted new, contemporary meaning
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talking about issues which are surrounding me
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in Russia,
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capturing people who are non-models
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but have an interesting story.
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This boy is a professional dancer,
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only 12 years old,
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but at secondary school, he hides his dancing classes
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and is wearing the mask of brutality,
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trying to be united with the rest of his classmates
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like a storm trooper has no personality.
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But this boy has goals and dreams
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but hides it to be socially accepted,
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because being different isn't easy,
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especially in Russia.
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Next portrait interpretation is metaphoric.
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And this is Nikita,
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a security guard from one of the bars
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in St. Petersburg.
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He likes to say, "You wouldn't like me when I'm angry,"
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quoting Hulk from the movie,
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but I've never seen him angry.
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He hides his sensitivities and romantic side,
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because in Russia, among guys,
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that's not cool to be romantic,
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but it's cool to be surrounded with women
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and look like an aggressive hulk.
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(Laughter)
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Sometimes, in my project,
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I would take the painting
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and give it new meaning
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and new temptation about it.
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Sometimes, I would compare facial features
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and playing with words:
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irony, Iron Man, ironing man.
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(Laughter)
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Through the artifacts,
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I bring social issues
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which surround me in Russia into the conversation.
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Interesting fact about marriage in Russia,
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that most of the 18, 19-year-old girls
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are already ready, and dream to get married.
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We're taught from childhood,
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successful marriage means successful life,
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so most of the girls kind of fight
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to get a good husband.
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And what about me?
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I'm 27 years old.
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For Russian society, I'm an old maid
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and hopeless to ever get married.
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That's why you see me in a Mexican fighter mask,
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in the wedding dress, all desperate in my garden.
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But remember, irony is the key,
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and this is actually to motivate girls
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to fight for goals, for dreams,
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and change stereotypes.
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Be brave. Be ironic — it helps.
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Be funny and create some magic.
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(Applause)
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ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Uldus Bakhtiozina - Artist, visionary
TED Fellow Uldus Bakhtiozina creates photo stories and video installations that challenge stereotypes and create diversity, involving all types of people from fashion models to ordinary people. She presents the world with humor and thoughtfulness.

Why you should listen

Uldus Bakhtiozina is an artist and filmmaker who lives and works in Russia. Born in Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, into a Muslim-Christian family, Bakhtiozina studied and worked in London in graphic design and photography before settling on her unique style which mixes folklore, history, fashion and challenging stereotypes. Calling her style "Tatar Baroque," in part because she is half Tatar, Bakhtiozina has a passion for irregularity, and she says that her work documents dreams. Bakhtiozina creates everything inside her analogue photography and films, from outfits to stages, to fulfill the story behind each of her creations. None of her works have been digitally manipulated.

More profile about the speaker
Uldus Bakhtiozina | Speaker | TED.com