A Ukrainian Photographer Turns Long-Haul Trains Into A Fashion Fantasy In Her New Series
Long-distance train rides can be exhausting, not to mention boring. But when it comes to style watching, even the most mundane of travels can be fascinating. Kiev-based fashion photographer Julie Poly would know: Though she has made her name shooting youth culture in Ukraine, as in her club-kid story for Vogue in 2016, she worked the railways as a train attendant during a summer break while in college.
Her responsibilities for the multi-night journeys included checking tickets, serving tea, and handing out bedsheets. Now, inspired by that experience, she has released the exhibition “Ukrzaliznytsia” (named for the Ukrainian railway system), a series of staged fashion-centric images shot in trains around the country, at the Kiev Central Railway. A book is set to debut in Spring 2019.
For Poly, the photos serve as replicated and exaggerated memories, a twilight zone of flashy transit fashion. With the help of local stylists like Stas Soulkeeper, Nastya Gutnik, and Venya Brykalin, the photographer glamorized provincial ’90s motifs. Young women with ankle-grazing hair, dressed in a mélange of leopard and baby pink, with frosted eyeshadow, take a photo with a selfie stick in between train cars. A woman poses on a seat in a train hall sporting a clingy discotheque outfit. Tenderness makes a cameo in the form of a young couple in ordinary clothes saying goodbye, embracing between platform and window.