SYNCHRODOGS: “I must be dreaming”
We speak to the photography duo about synchronicity & the power of dreams
by Ellie Howard
Together Tania Shcheglova and Roman Noven make up ‘Synchrodogs’, the avant-garde photography duo based in Ukraine. With one foot on earth and the other firmly placed in another dimension, they eclipse traditional photography practices with the transcendental nature of their work. The pair stage eerie photographs that capture hazy dreamscapes echoing a distant universe, or their own naked bodies traversing alien plateaus. Their main interest though is arousing the latent primitivism of the viewer, asking them to embrace their natural state – with surreal effect.
Only forming in 2007, they have rapidly gained international media acclaim and most recently seem to be a name on everyone’s lips for their surreal Bimba & Lola campaigns that push fashion advertising into a more artistic direction. Sending smoke-signals to outer space, we caught up with the pair and asked them, what is Synchrodogs?
KOD: I’m curious, what does ‘Synchrodogs’ stand for?
Although we are two people born on different dates and in different cities, we are very much alike. We have the same tastes, the exact same vision of future; we even say the same thoughts aloud, all this made us think we are synchronised to some extent. The fact we both love nature more than any other kind of environment made us think we are dogs; who are true friends of humans but their soul belongs to endless fields.
KOD: Your photographs often seem surreal as if lifted from a dreamscape; do you have the ability to lucid dream?
We often envision our ideas while trying to fall asleep. We’re able to get into a dream and are still able to wake ourselves up and make an iPhone note of what we have just seen. It’s not hard to control a dream at the beginning of it. It’s interesting to observe what your mind makes up just on the spot.
KOD: Dreams can be your body’s way of releasing and processing massive emotions. Do you feel especially attached to or vulnerable around your work because of this?
For us, our work is about capturing the dream within the image, recreating it via photography. We do feel attached to our images, and there are a lot of even deeper dreams, that are impossible to be staged, that are surreal and wild which inspire us emotionally just to live.
KOD: Do you believe in the psychoanalytic potential of dreams or do you think they are random images and sequences of events?
We believe that dreams have a deeper meaning than just images randomly produced by our minds. It happens occasionally that dreams lead to something, or show you the right path to take. Recently we shot a project for a month, day by day, which was incredibly taxing on the mind and body, there is a limit to your energy output, you have to re-energise when you regularly work in a creative field. One day I (Tania) had a mental breakdown, I wasn’t sure if I was still a human or a robot, having had no weekend for 25 days. I fell asleep and my late grandfather appeared, hugging me so that I felt his love and care. I woke up re-energised, I found new strength, and I knew that he had given me this strength through a dream.
KOD: What film has altered your perception on the world?
There is a movie called ‘Home’ (2009) which is forbidden to watch in many countries. It documents planet Earths problems and how they are all interlinked. We can’t say it changed us, but it’s beautiful and sad at the same time. You realise how deeply humans have damaged our planet.
KOD: Your landscapes seem vast and empty, as if from another planet – even a distant twinkling universe. Do you shoot mostly in Ukraine?
No, it is actually shot all over the world; we have no geographical limitations when it comes to art.
KOD: What is the relationship between humankind and nature? Are we intrinsically linked, an organic part of life – or are we the world’s natural enemy, an invasion upon the earth?
Unfortunately people are both - friend and foe. People have become too urbanized, they like video games more than their surrounding nature. They use resources at will and do not think about the earth’s limits, which actually exist. We tend to believe that the good will always triumph, but people need more time to overcome those problems and incorporate alternative sources of energy. It’s a pity that some things are impossible to reverse. For example there are 200 brown bears in the Carpathian Mountains, the same amount live in captivity, held in Ukrainian touring circuses and zoos.
KOD: What do you love?
Making serious glossy fur cats out of dirty kittens is our once-a-year hobby. Also, we just started our first charity project called CrystalTania, where we sell all made-by-Tania jewelry and give the profits to those in urgent need of medical help. You can see all available pieces here and make your karma pure and clean while helping to save a life: https://www.etsy.com/shop/CrystalTania
KOD: And what do you hate?
To wake up and realize that there is no milk and cornflakes and you can't have your breakfast, so discouraging at the beginning of the day, right?