Artour Toulinov was born between two rivers in Tuapse, Russia, a seaport on the Black Sea. From a young age, he was sculpting, painting and drawing. He graduated from Moscow State University with a degree in law, which he practiced until he immigrated to the United States in 1991. Although he was unable to practice law here, he did continue his work as a fitness trainer, not realizing then that he was training his eye for the photographic work he would make in the future with people from all walks of life.
He first picked up a camera in 1993, but it wasn’t until 1999 that photography became his passion and his work took a serious bent. He began working exclusively in the studio, using a black backdrop to create a small theater for the objects and people that would portray the memories he left behind in Russia, and those that he brought with him. His work has always been heavily influenced by his fascination with Russian icons and by the classical literature of his motherland, and so it was natural for him to create stories with his images, stories that evolved over the years to express emotions and experiences common to all.
He shoots only black and white film with a Hasselblad camera designed in 1948, and prints the images himself in a refined silver gelatin format.
Toulinov’s work is in the permanent collection of the Brooklyn Museum, as well as in many private collections, and has been shown in galleries in New York City and Europe. After living and working in Manhattan for twenty-seven years, he now has made Philadelphia his home.