Sonia Melnikova-Raich was born in Moscow, where she earned a Master's degree in architecture at the prestigious Moscow Architectural Institute. She has been living in San Francisco since 1987, and since 2005 has been exhibiting her photography locally, nationally, and internationally. She had several solo shows, had her works featured in professional photography journals, and was listed in 100 Hot Photographers by YourDailyPhotograph.com, the project by Duncan Miller Gallery, an internationally recognized gallery specializing in 20th and 21st Century art photography.

Sonia's approach to photography is shaped by her background in painting and architecture. Influenced by the vision of Russian Constructivists of the 1920s and the photography of the Bauhaus movement, she is interested in exploring the abstract in the material world, drawing the viewer's attention to the inner geometry of the photograph and its compositional structure. Her Light+Shadows series, which revolves around the mystery of perspective and geometry created by light and darkness in the architectural image, was inspired by the words of the famous American architect Louis Kahn: “The sun never knew how great it was until it hit the side of a building.”

Distinct from her high-contrast architectural photography, in some of her other works Sonia explores the poetry and mystique of low-light environments, capturing fleeting moments, barely visible, ambiguous or disappearing things. She feels a strong affinity with the Japanese philosophy and aesthetic of wabi sabi, with its reverence for the subtle beauty in old things, and focus on transience and impermanence. She believes that photography is the best medium to express these concepts, as each photograph is inherently an image of disappearance, a reflective connection to the past forever stamped by time.


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 intricate shadows. 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