Maksimilian Dikarev is a self-taught photographer. Over the last two decades Maksimilian has delved into digital and large format film, most notably an exploration of a near-extinct medium: Polaroid film. 

He is uniquely drawn to Polaroids because of its tactile nature. Its permanence and the distinctive quality of each individual Polaroid is unmistakable; the images are impossible to duplicate. 

Polaroid film has been used over the years as simply a tool to test color and exposure in the pre-digital era. Now that the film is no longer produced, the remaining stocks are expired and no longer accurate for that task. However, the very fact that there is a color shift, that there is something inherently wrong with it, somehow enhances the images I create.  

Maksimilian describes his process as painstaking and challenging, slower than the fast pace of today’s photographers. He says, “Working with expired film has inherent unpredictability – it frequently distorts my images and often reveals something even more beautiful than what I had intended.” 

The accidental marks. The chemical streaks. The half-developed images or missing corners. The unpredictability of “what may happen with this shot” is what turns a good image into a unique one. It is irreproducible. It is truly one of a kind. If my film is “good” then I’ll just take some great photos. But if it has some faults and problems, then I love it!  This is why I don’t shoot much on digital when creating.  The polaroid is not going to be “like new,” but in that imperfect way it will be unique and wonderful.

Maksimilian’s artistic focus is the female nude, and with his distinctive knowledge of the human form, his nudes express a unique fluidity and sensitivity. His work is bold, evocative, sensual, and genuinely concerned with evoking the personality of his subjects, reminiscent of the stylized compositions of Helmut Newton and Robert Mapplethorpe.

In addition to Polaroids, Maksimilian is applying his studio experience to explore new methods of lighting the human form in order to reshape it in surreal ways. 

Maksimilian was born in Russia and spent his formative years in Brooklyn, New York. He has a doctorate degree in physical therapy from Florida International University.