Charlotte Tanguy – Nyx

Charlotte Tanguy


In St-Petersburg, pollen comes out of poplars that were massively planted there after the second World War, in order to fill the holes in the city. Because so many of them were planted, and the pollen started to pollute the city, people became allergic to these pollen.



In St-Petersburg, I met Lielia during these so-called “white nights”, 21st of June 2010. I saw her walking through a cloud of white dots, pollen. She refused to be photographed, but took me to her home anyway. She showed me a cut out photograph of her son Anton, a journalist who got killed in St-Petersburg in 2000.

Her dog, a dalmatian, was jumping on me.

This project is about hopelessly trying to own absence… a walk with no beginning and no end through St-Petersburg, haunted by Anton’s photograph.

I came back to see Lielia in St-Petersburg in February, and will go there next time in June.




Born in 1979 in Lyon, France. Based in Paris.
Graduated from Ecole Nationale des Arts decoratifs de Paris (ENSAD) in 2004, started photography in 2008, and joined Agence Vu’ in January 2011.


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Charlotte Tanguy

17 Responses to “Charlotte Tanguy – Nyx”

  • Great work and great that you’re going back there (hopefully continuing the project also).

    I really, really liked it.

  • Another association: The almost constant repeat of the gold/light-straw colour in the essay is similar to the fall colour of the Russian Poplar leaf. This poplar is the softest of the hardwoods; is the first to leaf in spring, and the last to drop in fall. As dead-fall, the wood takes longer to deteriorate in the forest relative to denser hardwoods such as maple, oak, ash and walnut.

    It grows tall fast and is the preferred first-planting for wind protection, soil stabilization and garden profiling, which possibly ties in to Tanguy’s theme of owning absence.

  • Excellent ! Keep visiting !!!

  • Very creative… I find the holes punched into the photos very disturbing somehow. It makes me anxious, even frightened. And I love the poplar and pollen metaphors throughout the essay.

  • Very interesting! Feels like a pure impression of an experience and a place.
    I love how it seems to travel between a raw personal experience and multiple external stories.
    Makes me feel a bit like a detective investigating each bit to see how it fits together, puzzle-like with an ominous undertone. Elements I thought disparate at first, I come to discover it fit perfectly.
    …much to feast on.

    I am especially attracted to 18 for some reason, seems so startling and energized. As though at that point in the narrative something just occurred, as having marked a turning point.
    Just some thoughts…

    Congratulations, beautiful!

  • Spent some time with this, and also on the photographer’s site.. well worth it, thanks!

  • I like this a lot; it’s fresh. Well done.

  • Bizarre – in a good way. I liked it.

    We get that kind of pollen here, too. Every summer.

  • very interesting and fresh…

    I could feel your sensibility for surroundedings.

    … hope to keep going this work.

    Thank you. :))

  • Really took me in. I was hoping it would keep going on after the last photo in the a hidden track on a CD.

  • This essay is fascinating.

    Like the previous essay, it is very personal, full of references which are likely clear only to the maker, but somehow also resonate with the the viewer. Again, visual poetry, where the literal is not as important as the underlying emotions that are evoked. Like Frostfrog, I can bring my own personal references to this. I grew up in central Alberta, where every spring, the poplar fluff can pile up and drift like snow. I can smell that wonderful sharp sappy smell of the leaf buds and feel the sticky sap on my fingers.

    There is also something foreboding and sinister going on here, madness hinted at, decay, loss, death, despair depression. I personally don’t like going here, it is a place I avoid.

    Congratulations Charlotte

  • Definitely liked the personal flavour, and the variety of ideas.
    Thanks for sharing with us.


  • I kept reading NYX as well. Really nice essay. I have to say it didn’t grab me the first time around (yesterday) but today it totally did. Great piece. It begs to be seen again and again to understand a bit more each time.

  • Drops it’s bundle with the second last image, there is no need for it as the point is made previously. Otherwise it sits well with my sensibilities. Sure it does remind me of my stay in Saint Pete’s place same sort of courtyard………she drank vodka for breakfast made terrific pancakes and lamented her son on sentry duty in Tuva. (He had long left that post )

  • WOW! :)))

    i love this essay….and am sorry that I hadn’t seen it when it was published…

    to begin with “пух” in RUSSIAN means ‘fluff’…as in Winnie the Pooh: Винни-Пух (Winnie the fluff)….means tenderness, soft, child, the fluff that falls from the Poplars….but i LOVE that she has turned this arround to suggest death and loss and illness and the struggle for all that…

    also, i love that Charlotte begins with childlike joy (those gorgeous, golden balloons) and than carefully deconstructs our expectations….in fact, this entire story reminds me of a Family Album turned upside down…i love it’s conceptual conceit and it’s brilliant just of deconstructing of the photographic image/memory/loss….to me, it is very Russian and this is a real treat and a real compliment as I personally have grown weary of so many non-Russian photographers photographing Russian with cliche and obvious expectations….part Sarah Moon, part Boris Mikhailov….and so literate and literary….

    one of my favorite BURN essays in a while…my hope is that charlotte will return and explore this family and other families and what this means and everything that the shedding and spreading Пух suggests…..

    I’ve always been annoyed by Nabokov’s remembrance and celebration of Пух, seemingly lyrical (which it is) but also for its gentleness when in fact, when i’ve seen and walked through Пух, and kicked it around with my toes and spread it around my thumbs, it’s sadness and it’s surreal flight (like a warm snowstorm or ashfall), it has always broken my heart….and there is that illness and the loss of family at the heart of every autumn when the popular’s shed themselves…

    i hope this becomes a book…a handmade book….

    something, like Пух, to be gathered in the hands, bent, tossed and lost, but stinging the head and heart….

    beautiful beautiful work and beautiful, realized concept…

    congratulations Charlotte!

    bob (Пух, was my nickname when my wife, from moscow, first met)

  • the wedding photographer

    the first image with the balloons seriously took my breath away. well done man.

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