Sonia Melnikova-Raich was born in Moscow where she earned a
Master's degree in architecture at the prestigious
Moscow Architectural Institute.
Moved to San Francisco in 1987.
She exhibits her photography locally and internationally,
had several awards and has been a finalist in many juried
She had several solo shows and had her works featured in
professional photography journals and magazines.
I was trained and worked as an artist and architect.
Later in life I turned to photography, but schooling in painting
and architecture remains present in my approach to camerawork.
I am interested in exploring the abstract in the material world
and in that regard am strongly influenced by the art of
Russian Constructivists of the 1920s,
trying to bring the viewer's attention to inner geometry of the
photograph, its pictorial aspects and compositional structure.
In contrast to my abstract and architectural photography,
I also look for poetry and mystique in old things,
in both the material and natural worlds.
In that respect I feel strong affinity with the Japanese philosophy
and aesthetic of wabi sabi, with its preference for
muted colors, reverence for the subtle beauty in old and simple
objects, and focus on the transient nature of everything around us.
I believe that photography is the best medium to express these
ideas as each photograph is inherently an image of disappearance,
a melancholic connection to the past forever stamped by time.
I have no desire to just record the surroundings
and lean heavily towards composition and mood rather than
technical excellence, trying to capture fleeting moments,
barely visible, ambiguous or disappearing things.
Contact: 415.861.3667 or soniamelnikova at gmail.com
What others say:
“Much of Melnikova-Raich's work consists of a scene
blanketed by another layer that partially obscures the background,
creating a veiled effect....
Her colors are muted and with an added layer over the scenes,
her goal is to turn a three-dimensional scene into a
two-dimensional image.” — [Framework]: Sonia Melnikova-Raich on Paintings, by Judy
Walgren, Director of Photography, San Francisco Chronicle
“Circular Motion No. 5”, by Sonia Melnikova-Raich,
was selected as Gallery Choice. “The dizzying ordinal
elapses from a sequence of images which gradually develop in
complexity.” — Sharon Drinkard, Curator, for
Contemporary Art Gallery Online
“Sonia's works are very unique and the techniques she
employs are exquisite. The images are heavy with nostalgia and
empathy, the silent shadows or spirits of past people and things.
She has a unique way of integrating wonderful foreground textures
with solid backgrounds or showing mystical, veiled subjects
shrouded with transparent, flowing materials.” —
Barbara DeGroot, artist
“Sonia's art seems to float on some poetic altitude of
dissolution and phantom images of the past. The images are quite
powerful and inventive, both in the overall color field and
liquidity, and are quite remarkable in terms of their
technique.” — Valery and Rimma Gerlovin,
conceptual photography artists
“Melnikova-Raich appreciates the city's foggy summers.
Her special brand of photography does not call for sunshine and
Her eye is trained in capturing barely visible or disappearing
things — subtle reminders of time passing by, the remnants
of our everyday, gradually descending into oblivion.” —
Emma Krasov, art critic, blogger
“You have clearly established your own niche in art ...
with your own interpretation of reality.
You overlaid a Japanese Buddhist concept onto a Jewish
sentiment, and they work very well together.
The Jewish prayer sounds like a Japanese haiku, and the Japanese
concept of wabi sabi sounds like it was invented by Jews
almost. I think you are onto some profound confluence of mythologies
there.” — Anonymous visitor at “The Elusive Poetry
of Wabi Sabi”, San Francisco Zen Center