Sergey Melnitchenko Behind The Scenes

Virtually no photographer has got as close to the dancers at a Chinese club as Ukrainian photographer Sergey Melnitchenko. He was with them backstage, offering rare insight into life in the cheap entertainment business. His own experience as a dancer served him well. With great sensitivity, the images reveal the reality of a tough profession despite its frolicsome appearance under the spotlight.

“This is the reverse,” says Sergey, “the invisible side of the club, the atmosphere, a part of which I became. Behind the scenes, there is more burlesque than on the stage, the concentration of sexual fluids is more powerful than oxygen.”

Contrary to the masked illusion created by the subjects’ stage performance, their life away from the stage is not a scene; the girls aren’t taking selfies, some lie around exhausted, others stare bored into nothingness, put on their make-up, await their next performance. He explains: “There’s no falsehood – it’s not a scene, it’s their everyday life, our life, or rather mine.” Exactly because their lives are brought into focus by one of their own, their sexual appearance gains depth it lacks on stage; the parody of their performance gains even more strength than the image conveyed to the public.

Behind The Scene is the Winner of the Leica Oskar Barnack 2017 Series Award.

Discover more of Sergey’s work here: Sergey Melnitchenko

Monthly Photo Contest

© Stephen Cook

THEME: LANDSCAPE Deadline: 30 April 2020

When taking a picture of a landscape, just like in a portrait or a scene, photographers attempt to tell a story.

From compelling urban scenes to minimalist pulls towards the earth: this month we want to discover and celebrate all the beauty and joy that landscapes can provide.

All approaches are valid and we want to see as many different styles and compositions as possible!


1st Prize: $1000 · 2nd Prize: $600 · 3rd Prize: $400

Submit Now