Born in 1962 in St. Petersburg, Titarenko rose to prominence in the 1990s for his series of photographs of his native city, where his application of long exposures, intentional camera movement, and expert printmaking techniques to street photography produced a powerful meditation on an urban landscape still suffused with a history of suffering. In the decade that followed, his pursuit of the city of his youth led him as far afield as Venice, whose architecture served as a model for St. Petersburg, and Havana, whose streets and buildings remained frozen in the Soviet era.
For the past eight years, Titarenko has turned his lens toward a very different city: New York. In this work, Titarenko brings his longstanding concerns with time and history to bear on a relatively young city known for its relentless, headlong pace. Titarenko’s distinctive long exposures and selective toning highlight the way that architecture not only gives form to the lives of a city’s inhabitants, but also stands as an embodiment of its history. Even in New York, time stands still, if just for a moment: in the defunct fire alarm boxes still posted on busy street corners; in the turn-of-the-century façades adorned with the multivalent, overlapping signage of the modern era; and in buildings like the Domino Sugar Factory, a powerful example of the city’s rich past meeting its implacable present.
Titarenko crafts each print by hand in his darkroom, producing a rich, subtle range of tones that renders each print unique. Such masterful printing is particularly suited to Titarenko’s longtime interest in water and its relationship to the city, bringing out the the texture and reflective quality of the snow, the rain, the clouds, and the East River, and infusing each image with moisture and light.