Victoria Dini, visual artist and researcher working with photography and mixed media.

Born 1981 in Bendery, Moldova; raised in Samara, currently based in Saint-Petersburg, Russia.

I am a professional documentary photographer and have been doing my work for over ten years. My photographs have been exhibited in Rome, Petersburg and Brussels, printed on covers and exist as books. 

Blending documentary and conceptual photographic practices, I look at the themes that often remain untelled. 

For about ten years I have been involved in the social field as a volunteer and a social journalist. I have worked with survivors of sexualised abuse in childhood, with crisis and foster families, with children with experience of living in orphanages, with people with experience of homelessness, with people with disabilities, and with many other vulnerable groups.

It’s very important for me to show the stories that are often hidden from the world. People and how they cope with all sorts of difficult experiences inspire me endlessly. 

In my personal projects I explore themes of trauma, identity and belonging, loneliness and intimacy. Most of them grow out of what I live through myself. In the way of auto-photo-bio I explore the situations and social groups I find myself in. LGBT and women’s rights. Foster motherhood. Trauma and child abuse. Parent-child separation. Liberation from imposed heteronormative canons. A relationship with own homelessness. And with the tyrant country. 

I am a firm believer that there is nothing more important than visibility. Everything unseen retains its destructive effect, while looking heals and leaves hope for change.

In my commercial work with clients (I call them 'heroes') I am happy to both celebrate life in its beauty and vulnerability and go into the difficult themes.

My personal history of trauma helps me to treat other people’s pain with care. Also, my main goal is not to hurt the heroes, so I am constantly working on improving my skills in both art and psychology, practicing phototherapy. Also I have over 350 hours of personal therapy.

I believe that photography can be much more than just a pretty picture.


Selected group exhibitions

2022 Activist art “Tok Maraphone”
Petersburg, Deistvie Center 

2021 Lesbiennale with “If we were told something different” series (part of Being in love with woman)
Brussel, Belgium, Rainbow House

2020 Diaries. Loosenart International Group Exibition with “Mom’s letters” series
Rome, Italy, Millepiani Gallery

2013 “Photofaculty 54” with Mom’s letters series
Saint-Petersburg, Sol Gallery

2012 Andreas Rost and Frank Gaudlitz' workshop with Mom’s letters series
Saint-Petersburg, Rosfoto gallery

2012 “Small festival of big volunteer projects”
Saint-Petersburg, Rabfak Gallery

2012 “Photofaculty 53” with Being single series
Saint-Petersburg, Etazhi Gallery


Books

Photobooks:
2013 Mom’s letters, self publishing, limited edition
2012 Girl on the ball, self publishing, limited edition
2012 Being single, self publishing, limited edition

2006—2010 Publications of short prose in the collections of the FRAM series, Amphora: “Alive and others”, “Wardrobes and skeletons”, “Tea book”, “Russian foreign tales-6”, “Vinegar and crocodiles”, “Russian foreign tales-6-4

Publications of poetry cycles:
2004, The Cradle of Brothers anthology, the independent literary prize Debut
2004, Evening Gondolier Magazine, issue 136
2004, Friends of the Fisherman collection of poems
2003, Babylon: Herald of Young Literature, issue 10 (26)


Media

2020 Interview about visual storytelling “Photo VS text: how photographic stories are making” (Gorbunov school magazine (rus)
2013 Mom’s letters with a comment — F-Magazine


Public lectures, performances, other activities (selected)

2020 “A miner’s bird in the field: how to communicate and write about heroes from vulnerable groups who have asked for help themselves”. Author’s lecture on the theory and practice of journalism and documentary works. Recorded with the necessary cuts for ethical reasons.
The lecture was a part of my nonprofit mentoring at the Summer School Crisis Journalism Workshop: a ten-day crisis psychology intensive course for journalists from the team of the INGO Crisis Centre for Women.
St Petersburg and online, Summer school

2020 A phototherapy lecture on how to regain a sense of body and body support in isolation, how to support yourself with simple selfies techniques, especially if you are a woman or someone with female gender socialization, and how to help yourself experience your days as a personal journey without leaving your apartment in pandemia.
Petersburg, Ossi Bar

2019-2020 Elextra Complex. The first Russian documentary play about the sexual abuse of children and adolescents.
Participating as an actress, heroine, author of autobiographical texts which formed the basis of the play. Nonprofit work.
St Petersburg and Moscow

2019 “Watching and Seeing” Blitz: How Gentle Witnessing Through Photography Helps in Therapeutic Work (recording)
IV Petersburg narrative conference “Contexts and details”, St Petersburg and online

2019 Performance of the poetry brigade “dini | fox” at a concert in support of the law of domestic violence
St Petersburg, Eve’s Ribs Feminist Festival

2019 Poetry evening More than three: readings by Petersburg poets Victoria Dini, Aleksandra Lisitsa and Aleksandr Pelevin
(First performance under a real name)
St Petersburg, Artmuse Museum of Contemporary Art

2019 The lecture “Fragments. How Childhood Abuse Affects All Life Afterwards” as part of the “How to Save Women in Russia” lecture series.
Tomsk/online

2019 Readings from the documentary prose series “Fragments” as a guest of the show “The Fox in the Den"
St Petersburg, loft-space Nora М

2018 Readings from the documentary prose series “Fragments” as a guest of the show “Lisitsa: poems and prose
St Petersburg, Niko bar

2014 Performance “CameraCafe. Food and portraits in a hurry"
St Petersburg, Fotodepartament Gallery


Тeaching

2014 Charity Fund Mitten Museum. Author’s photography course for adults “Family Story Workshop
2014 Other Worlds Space. Author’s workshop on visual storytelling “How to catch a big fish and bring back a story from the trip
2013, 2017, 2018 Children’s camp Primorsky, Ukraine, Arabatska strelka. Nonprofit teaching photography and journalism in the format of groups
2014 Federal Network of Educational Centres Unium, teaching photography to teenagers
2013–2014 Charity Fund Teply Dom, camp for families in difficult life situations. Nonprofit work with children and adults from crisis families as a phototherapy assistant 


Education

2020-2021 International School of Art Therapy, Russian Art Therapy Association, course “Art-Hugge. Multimodal therapy with creativity as a practice of simple steps”. Teachers Alyona Burenkova, Keith Loring, Dilya Gazizova, etc. Certificate of training in the amount of 72 hours

2020 Professional development programme at the VI All-Russian Festival Psychological Practice in Russia, Imaton (30 hours). Certificate of Professional Development No. 43/48/20 

2019-2020 “Phototherapy. Using photography in a phototherapy”. Imaton institute of practice psychologу. Saint Petersburg, Russia

2014 Russian Institute for Complex Fairy Tale Therapy, training within the framework of the programme for studying the author’s method of complex fairy-tale therapy (72 hours). Certificate No. 17-LM/58, qualification “Storyteller” with the right to teach an optional course on storytelling therapy at school

2013-2014: Theory and practice of modern photography, curated by Igor Lebedev, Fotodepartament Institute. Saint-Petersburg, Russia

2013 Insight Psychological Volunteer Club, Volunteer School. Course of trainings, seminars and workshops on working with children, teenagers and elderly people (age psychology, team building, making contact, conflictology)

2012: Andreas Rost and Frank Gaudlitz workshop. “On the poetry of Arno Fischer’s documentary method”. Curator Andreas Rost. State Museum and Exhibition Centre ROSPHOTO, Goethe Institute Saint-Petersburg, Russia

2011-2013: Faculty of Photojournalism in the name of U.A. Galperin, curated by Anna Fedotova, diploma in media photography. Saint-Petersburg, Russiа

2005-2006 Gorky Moscow Institute of Literature, Department of Literary Skills, Department of Poetry

1998-2004 Samara State Pedagogical University (now PGSGA), Department of Philology, Department of Journalism