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English photographer creates mesmerising underwater art in Moscow basement

  •  Established London photographic artist Alexander James packed his studio into a truck and drove it all the way to Moscow to create a new collection.
  • He rented the cellar of an old factory and transformed it into a fully functional workspace equipped with a large pool of water.
  • He combines art forms to create photographs reminiscent of the old masters’, but never manipulates or edits his images.
  • His Russian collection, ‘Distil Ennui’, skilfully employs water to create an effect midway between reality and dreams.
  • Despite many hurdles along the way, the Englishman persevered and brought his vision to fruition to rave reviews.

Established London photographic artist Alexander James packed his studio into a truck and drove it all the way to Moscow to create a new collection.

For his new project, he rented the cellar of an old factory and transformed it from an uninhabitable grotto into a fully functional workspace equipped with a large pool of water.

© 1990-2017 Alexander James Distil Ennui Studio ®
© 1990-2017 Alexander James Distil Ennui Studio ®

A stream of unusual people and things passed through Alexander’s makeshift studio in the process of creating his photographs.

© 1990-2017 Alexander James Distil Ennui Studio ®
© 1990-2017 Alexander James Distil Ennui Studio ®

Alexander has few rules but one is sacrosanct: the final images must be true representations, so he never manipulates or edits them in post-production.

© 1990-2017 Alexander James Distil Ennui Studio ®
© 1990-2017 Alexander James Distil Ennui Studio ®

Alexander combines many art forms to create images reminiscent of the old masters’. Art enthusiasts may recognise famous masterpieces referenced in his work.

© 1990-2017 Alexander James Distil Ennui Studio ®
© 1990-2017 Alexander James Distil Ennui Studio ®

The camera should do more than simply document reality – it should project a unique vision, according to Alexander.

© 1990-2017 Alexander James Distil Ennui Studio ®
© 1990-2017 Alexander James Distil Ennui Studio ®

His Russian collection, ‘Distil Ennui’, seeks to reveal the essence and beauty of life.

© 1990-2017 Alexander James Distil Ennui Studio ®
© 1990-2017 Alexander James Distil Ennui Studio ®

Water is skilfully employed to adjust reality to creative effect.

© 1990-2017 Alexander James Distil Ennui Studio ®
© 1990-2017 Alexander James Distil Ennui Studio ®

Alexander keeps certain aspects of his technique secret, as he has worked hard to develop and master a process that gives his work an enigmatic feel, midway between reality and dreams.

© 1990-2017 Alexander James Distil Ennui Studio ®
© 1990-2017 Alexander James Distil Ennui Studio ®

He encountered several logistical and bureaucratic hurdles while realising his art project that were far from dreamlike, however.

© 1990-2017 Alexander James Distil Ennui Studio ®
© 1990-2017 Alexander James Distil Ennui Studio ®

Alexander was confronted with difficulties every step of the way, and there were times when the whole endeavour appeared to be in jeopardy.

© 1990-2017 Alexander James Distil Ennui Studio ®
© 1990-2017 Alexander James Distil Ennui Studio ®

Nonetheless, the English artist was determined to see them as an adventure and a challenge rather than an insurmountable barrier.

© 1990-2017 Alexander James Distil Ennui Studio ®
© 1990-2017 Alexander James Distil Ennui Studio ®

In the end, he persevered and brought his vision for the project to fruition to rave reviews.

© 1990-2017 Alexander James Distil Ennui Studio ®
© 1990-2017 Alexander James Distil Ennui Studio ®

To see how this unusual Englishman managed to create unusual and mesmerising photographic works of art in Moscow, watch Immersed in Moscow  on RTD.