Galya Budagova (@galinastoopp) is a talented young Russian photographer, who has been honored with a spot in the 30 under 30 Women Photographers list by Artpil for the year 2023. In her photographic series titled Fragile, she explores the themes of femininity and its often hushed nuances.
In her homeland, subjects like intimacy and closeness are frequently shrouded in an air of taboo, sometimes even being equated with acts that run afoul of societal norms and religious values. Women, in the eyes of many, are expected to adhere to rigid social roles, with certain topics remaining shrouded in silence. Galya's photography brings these concealed themes to light. Through her lens, she seeks to stitch a narrative that accentuates their resilience, strength, the struggles that women face, their secret desires, and their desire to be free- shedding light on how a woman's beauty remains unyielding in the face of any circumstance.
In her frames, you'll often find her closest friends, a deliberate choice made for this project. Galya Budagova opted to work with her friends as models because of the trust and intimacy that already existed within these relationships. These individuals were not just subjects in her photographs; they were willing participants, ready to open themselves up and display their raw emotions. They were individuals prepared to expose their pain and vulnerability in front of the camera.
Through her lens, the photographer not only captures the delicate beauty of femininity but also the remarkable strength that emerges from it. Her work serves as a tribute to the resilience, grace, and indomitable spirit of women, reminding us that true beauty transcends the boundaries of convention and prejudice.
She has captured a lot of images in black and white, which adds to the level of vulnerability in the work, it shows the subject in more of a raw light and setting. Allowing the subject to be easier to focus on when viewing the image. This really demonstrates how Gayla has a pure and sensitive approach to the work.
The series also connects beautifully with nature, showing the subjects thriving in the elements surrounding them. Showing that powerful connection between femininity and nature as well as the connection we have with our bodies and our environments. Surrendering to a peaceful environment such as a beach or forest, is very nurturing for us and instantly begins to regulate our nervous system. The peaceful glow that these images have reflect that and it's what makes looking at these images enjoyable: to see the perfect balance of nature and femininity complementing one another.
Galya has left Russia due to the political situation and now resides with her family on the island of Zanzibar in Tanzania.