'I am looking for forms, and photography is currently the most accessible tool for me for exploring them.'
About the artist
Yan Yugay (*1981) was born in Beslan, a town in the Northern Caucasus region. Yan's mother is of Romani origins and his father is half Japanese, half Korean. In 1998, he entered the Faculty of Arts at the North Ossetian State University, specializing in Painting. He currently works as a professional photographer contributing to leading magazines such as Vogue, Esquire, GQ, Marie Claire, Elle and Harper's Bazaar. Nevertheless, his artistic practice is not confined solely to the photographic medium, apart from it, he works in painting, video- and performance art. Yugay’s interest in masks which often appear in his work, has its roots in his childhood in the multicultural region of the Northern Caucasus as well as in his family history.
EEP: How did you first start working with photography?
YY: After I finished my studies in Painting in the early 2000's, I moved to Moscow. It was a tough period in Russia back then. It seemed as if artists were not needed, so I was doing many different jobs. Then, when I was about 30, I bought myself a camera, but I still was not making any photographs. Shortly after, my mother became ill and I quit my job to go and help her. My hometown is in the countryside and there was not much to do, so while I was not at the hospital, I was taking photos of everything I saw around me - animals, people, life in general. At that point, I knew this was what I had missed the most while I was not painting. I went back to Moscow and I started working with photography.