Drawing Mental Portraits: A unique insight into people's minds

This photographic series by Eduard Kurganov stands somewhere along the lines of photo-conceptualism and photojournalism where each image tries to find a perfect unity between truth and realism.

Inspired by Gillian Wearing’s brilliant work ‘Signs that say what you want them to say and not signs that say what someone else wants you to say' – each portrait photograph is purposefully engineered, whereby Kurganov approaches people with a blank whiteboard and marker, asking them to draw any picture they desire. He then takes their picture, there and then – showing what they've drawn.

He explains: "In this way, each image disrupts the logic of traditional documentary portraiture and journalistic photography. I became fascinated by the relationship between the person, the drawing, and the surrounding area where I approached them. I put an emphasis on subjective personal experience in order to create a rather objective scene. I reveal some part of the complex objective through a variety of important subjective decisions such as composition, positioning of the subject, and what to include in and exclude from the frame.

"I use my artistic intervention to focus on the internal state and thoughts of each person at the moment. Thus, the whiteboard and the marker become a unique tool that lets you peek into the minds of each participant. Knowingly or not, everybody draws a little mental portrait of themselves. Each image can tell you something about the person and unveil how his or her brain composes perception of the world around us. These key elements are essential to each photograph and are what makes them truly unique and enthralling."