Nikolay Bakharev was born in 1946 in the village of Mikhailovka, Siberia: he now lives and works in Moscow and Novokuznetsk. In the 1970’s he worked as a photographer at the Communal Services Factory of Novokuznetsk, going to schools, funerals and weddings, hostels and private apartments offering various photographic portraits. During the same period he started going to the local beach, the only place where people were allowed to bare their bodies without provoking a negative reaction from the Soviet society at the time.
“Our morals forbade us to be nude in front of strangers. There was also a clause in the Criminal Code which banned the distribution of nudity in photographs, so it put off most photographers from approach this theme. That is why people posed cheerfully before a photographer at the beach without any reservations or shame. Thus, a cycle of beach works appeared and later many beach clients also expressed their desire to have photographs taken at home.”
Bakharev tried to get an official permit to shoot nude models in his studio at the Communal Services Factory; he went to the municipal and regional party committees for support trying to substantiate my claims with the fact that the openness of such work would help somehow monitor this activity. But they said, “You should be thankful that you haven’t been sent to prison yet.”