Julie Poly

Ukraine, b. 1986 

Julie Poly is among the most internationally successful Ukrainian fashion photographers. Inspired by the Kharkiv School of Photography, and part of art initiatives of young artists, Poly took her first pictures at Kharkiv’s horse market. Poly’s portfolio showcases work for local and international editions of iconic fashion magazines (Vogue, L’Officiel, Harper’s Bazaar), as well as art publications (Hrishnytsia, Ukrzaliznytsia, i-D, and Numéro). Poly’s art practice draws from her previous experience in documentary and staged photography—she interprets cultural and visual codes of typical Ukrainian everyday life, with a focus on eroticism, fashion, and novel notions of beauty. The artist states that she finds herself inspired by “trivial things, everyday events, stories from the lives of friends, and own experiences.” Her mockumentary-style imagery of tawdry aesthetics often returns to the areas of their origin, being exhibited at railway stations (Ukrzaliznytsia series) and arcade centers (Kosmolot playing cards). There, they come into direct contact with their subjects: the archetypal people of Ukraine.