The Image as Question

Ahead of The Image as Question at Michael Hoppen Gallery, the gallerist himself talks us through a selection of images from the exhibition. In the days leading up to the opening on the 28th of September, we’ll hear about one piece and why it made the final show. 

Cribs, the faculty of journalism of Moscow State University, 1984 - Valery Khristoforov. Courtesy of Michael Hoppen Gallery.

This is an unusual evidential photograph of a Russian student who cheated at her exam at the journalism faculty in Moscow. The tightly bunched scrawl across her thighs is clear evidence of her exam practice. The photographer describes how he came to record the student.

“It was a preliminary examination of the department of journalism of the Moscow State University. June-July, 1984. This girl was seating under trees near the statue of Mikhail Lomonosov, the greatest Russian scientist, who gave the name to the University. She was “painting” her legs and the photographer asked her the permission to take a shot. She agreed under 2 conditions:
- After the examination.
- Without face.
He waited her about 1:5 hours and then took a photo of her legs. She passed the exam! She wasn’t caught.”

One of my best photographs in the show from Russia. We all know someone who wrote answers in ink on the their hands or legs - but this is a huge amount of information brought into an exam. I like the image as it covers an evidential area we had not been able to find until I found this one.

— Michael Hoppen