Know thyself

'Know Thyself' is a series of photographic nudes by Vladimir Kravchenko. Inspired by and brought to life using the masks of the artist Nicole Toms. The images invite the viewer to consider what personalities within themselves could be hiding from their and others’ view, what it means to inhabit a body and what it means to be someone.

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“You return home after a productive shift at work. Your partner greets you with a freshly cooked dinner. You watch the 9pm news. You prepare to go to bed thinking that your day went well and that, all in all, you are a good person.

As you’re eating a hot cross-bun in the morning, your partner tells you that you were talking in your sleep. That puzzles you as you never thought you could be a sleep-talker. A half-formed alarm-bell of a thought crosses your mind as you vaguely remember that there was something sinister in your dream: a hidden compartment, a fluid mirror, a repetitive nursery rhyme in a language you could not understand.

On the train to work, a gangly schoolboy with an oversized bag scrutinizes you with such curiosity that you imagine yourself to be an insect or an unusual piece of interior. You begin feeling uncomfortable sensing that that the child is seeing something that you’ve been trying hard to hide from the outside world.

‘But there is nothing to hide!’, you exclaim inwardly, feeling perplexed because if you had nothing to hide, then no schoolboy could make you feel that you are hiding something.

You are deep in thought as you’re walking from the station to your workplace.

At some time you do not remember you were given a body. Up to the present moment, you have behaved the way you have partly due to the biological demands of that body and partly because society – the bodies of others – has shown you how to behave.

By the time the elevator is bearing you to the thirteen floor of your office building, you are completely confused as to who you actually are.”

Otto von Krug