Valery Katsuba

Valery Katsuba (born July 21, 1965) is an artist working in the realms of photography, video and performance; he also writes stories. His best known photographic series are Phiscultura (2006), The Model: Classic and Contemporary (2018), The Seasons. My Friends (2005). Each was created as a narrative, based on classical traditions in art and literature, and on historical research. To create such photographic series the artist works (as director, choreographer or trainer) with models – athletes, dancers, actors, circus performers, workers or friends. His work can be found in the collections of the Centre Pompidou (Paris), the Russian Museum (St Petersburg), the Museum of the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts (Madrid) and others.

Valery Katsuba was born in the village of Sergeevichi (Minsk Region, Republic of Belarus), the son of a forest ranger (Vladislav Katsuba) and the director of the village school (Yanina Katsuba). The second of three sons, his interest in literature, history and art, as well as sport, was shaped in part thanks to the enthusiasm of his teachers. After finishing school at the age of 16, he went to study at the Admiral Makarov Higher Engineering Marine School in Leningrad (now the Admiral Makarov State Maritime Academy, St Petersburg), where he completed a degree in meteorology in the Arctic Faculty with honours. He then commenced postgraduate research under the guidance of Academician Vladlen Adamenko. It was at this time that he met journalist Sergey Kalinin and art historian Catherine Phillips, and under their influence started to work in journalism. He produced pieces for St Petersburg radio and television and for BBC radio and television, and wrote about the art of St Petersburg and Moscow in the age of Perestroika for Kommersant, The Guardian, The Independent, Vogue Paris and others. He gave up his graduate studies, recognising that his vocation lay in art. In the late 1990s, he started to collaborate with Vogue magazine, which set up a Russian edition, also with W Magazine, Elle and others producing photoshoots for renowned photographers such as Arthur Elgort, Neil Kirk, Philip-Lorca di Corcia and stylists Katharina Flohr and Carin Roitfeld. In 2002, he started shooting with his own Hasselblad, a gift from Neil Kirk, who was to become the first collector of his work.