Gulnara is a Tatar born American fine art photographer. In her native Russia she was a photography teacher and specialized in documentary and conceptual photography. Before moving to New York City in 1992 Gulnara was the only fine art woman photographer in Autonomous Republic of Bashkortostan, where she was born in Ufa, the capital.
After moving to New York City Gulnara continued with documentary and street photography. She was expected to be in Russia on September 11, 2001 to photograph a family she was chronicling as part of a personal, ongoing project. Instead, she was nearly buried alive in the ash and debris from the World Trade Center as she documented the events of the day as a staff photographer for the Associated Press. Gulnara was awarded nationally and internationally for her photographs from 9/11, including first prize in the World Press Photo competition, New York Press Club, Interphoto Photographer of the year, among others.
Gulnara began hand coloring her photographs in 1989 after seeing a visiting exhibition of work of Gilbert and George in Moscow. A different use for photography gave her permission to express what was hidden in her pictures as well as in Soviet social life.
Hand painted with oil she leaves parts of her black and white photographs untouched as a “real life” of people, their problems, their relationship and adding color to show the “fantasy”. When she thinks her subjects are trying to say something she adds their thoughts in balloons. She makes no attempt to use color for any type of photo realism but uses in conjunction with the black and white image to finish the message she wishes to express.
Gulnara’s work is a part of major collections including Museum of the City of New York, Newseum, Akron Museum, The New York Public Library, 9/11 Memorial Museum, Elton John, Timothy Baum, Henry Buhl.
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