For their 2015 Supernatural series, commissioned by Dallas Contemporary, the photographers traveled the American southwest, capturing the geography through a sublime approach that blurred the line between the real and the imagined. In Slightly Altered, Synchrodogs transports its Dallas viewers to the Carpathian Mountains of their native Ukraine. If the soul of the American southwest is a desert, the soul of the Ukranian Carpathian Mountain Range is an overwhelming green forest. Traveling across the terrain over the course of one month, the duo gained a heightened awareness for the ways in which man has harmfully intruded on the forested regions that raised them.
The series was borne from multiple unsettling observations that marked the photographers’ travels: taxidermied animals were plentiful in every restaurant or hotel in the mountains while live ones were never spotted in the wild; an abandoned fire was left to burn in the valley and urgently needed to be stomped out; and mounds of plastic garbage were found littered throughout the territory. Reflecting on these experiences, the photographs in Slightly Altered serve as a meditation on the interrelationship between man and nature.
Slighly Altered posits that through changing nature, we change ourselves. Mass deforestation ignited by the global market for timber, for instance, has resulted in the flooding of mountain villages that were once protected by the trees’ dense root system. The subjects of these new photographs consist of thoroughly planned and executed temporary installations in the Ukranian wilderness. Scenes of nature, such as a towering pine tree adorned in a curious reflective material, bring an awareness of the human ability to manipulate the natural world. Images containing the human figure, including Synchrodogs’ characteristic nudes, expose a more vulnerable, emotional connection to our ecological surroundings. Altogether, these images highlight a fragile ecosystem that calls for awareness, responsibility, and care.
Synchrodogs consists of Ukrainian photographers Tania Shcheglova (b. 1989) and Roman Noven (b. 1984). They have exhibited at institutions such as the Chelsea College of Art and Design, London; SBK Gallery, Dordrecht, Netherlands; Spazio Punch Gallery, Venice, Italy; Public Works Gallery, Chicago; Pinchuk Art Centre and Lavra Gallery, Kiev, among many others. They have excelled in major art competitions, including winning first prize for Arts Rebels X Canon and the art photography award for Harper’s Bazaar Ukraine in 2011. As commercial fashion photographers their work has been published in numerous magazines including Dazed and Confused and Jalouse, and they have shot editorial campaigns for brands like Kenzo, Bimbo Y Lola, and Lady Gaga.