All images by Dmitri Pryahin. Used with Creative Commons permission.
We are often told that the most effective and compelling portraits are those that make us feel. In that case, the work of Russian photographer Dmitri Pryahin easily achieves — and exceeds even — our expectations. His focus on the most intense and most primal emotions challenges our ideas and preconceptions about portrait photography once again in one of his latest series.
As with a good number of his sets, a powerful black and white imagery defines this series fittingly titled Release My Soul. The plain white and gray backgrounds are contrasted by the dark clothing and disarming facial expressions of his muse. Unusual poses and contortions also add an eerie mood throughout the whole series, making us feel a combination of uneasiness and dread.
Pryahin’s style is definitely a distinct departure from what we expect from portrait photography. Dark themes and visual styles are not new to the genre but we have to admit that it usually doesn’t get darker — yet also fascinating than this. It’s also impressive how he is able to arouse complex emotions in the viewer through this brave approach, something that we must admit is mostly rare in photography projects.
If the imagery of Release My Soul is strangely familiar to you, that’s most likely because you’ve already seen it here. We actually got in touch with Pryahin not so long ago, intrigued by where the inspirations and visions that guide his work. There, he told us that he does not at all think that his style is dark. He instead believes that it merely brings to light the primal emotions of the human psyche.
“I do not consider my photos to be dark. For me, they reflect life, without the evaluation of whether they are light or dark,” he says in our interview. I highly recommend checking that out if you want to learn more about his sensibilities and insights.
For more of these unique portraits by Dmitri Pryahin, don’t forget to visit his Behance portfolio.