First Look: Surreal Photographs From Synchrodogs’ ‘Reverie Sleep’

Photo: Synchrodogs

We first met the daring, bold Ukranian art-and-photo duo Synchrodogs in the spring, when they expertly clashed patterns, backdrops, and colors for the Cut’s Out of the Box feature. More recently, Tania Shcheglova and Roman Noven have embarked on an adventure on a volcanic island after getting nominated for a Pinchuk Art Prize earlier this year. Their resulting series, bursting with magical shots of nature mixed with fantastical costumes, is titled Reverie Sleep, and will be on view at the Pinchuk Art Centre in Kiev until January 5. The Cut caught up with the photographers to hear about the creative process behind their work. “The project is based on our dreams, those we have seen in drowsiness,” they explained. “During the stage of Non-Rapid Eye Movement sleep, some people may experience hypnagogic hallucinations, which are caused by [the] natural process of falling asleep. For this Reverie Sleep project, we gathered our dreams for the last two years and staged them.” Read our Q&A with the duo below and click through the slideshow to get swept away in Synchrodogs’ gorgeous, nature-filled dreamworld: rainbow ladies, fruit suits, and vibrant blue claws abound.

How many years have you two been shooting together?
We started collaboration in 2008, [when we] met each other on a photography website where we both had accounts (as we are naturally from two different cities).

Where did you take these photographs? The landscapes are stunning.
Though we are showing just a small part of this project now, there are many more pictures in it, and all of them were shot in particularly dangerous locations — like glaciers where you can fall into an ice hole and be found in a week, or in hot lakes where you can get boiled alive if there is a geyser which decides to eject hot water while you are in [it]. To find those spectacular locations we had to rent a car on [a] volcanic island and literally check every turn of the road to see what [was] there.

Tell me about the story behind the items you’re wearing. Did you make the fruit-covered suit as well as the other costumes on your own?
We made everything ourselves. It took us three months to develop the ideas, find all the props, create costumes, paint nails, plan the trip, and shoot everything. We didn’t even notice there was summer as we were busy all the time.

For the photo on the wet, mossy rocks, are you wearing white circles over your body? Where were you?
Actually, these were round mirrors, as we’ve seen a dream where there were holes in the whole body. [We were in] the place in an ocean bank which suffers from rains all the time.

A lot of your other photos are connected to beautiful natural landscapes. Do you have any specific locations where you would love to shoot next?
We noticed long ago that natural environments are where we feel safe and happy, so we have a list of bookmarks with all those places we should visit.

Do you have any upcoming projects that you’re excited about?
We like mixing it up: shooting a personal project and then a commissioned one right after. Then we can keep a balance between what we want and what we can afford. We are busy with some commercial projects at the moment, the details will be [revealed] pretty soon.

First Look: Surreal Photos from ‘Reverie Sleep’