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

People Portrait photograph man with orange clothes standing before bridge
© MD Tanveer Rohan

THEME: PEOPLE Deadline: 31 October 2019

“It is more important to click with people
than to click the shutter.”
- Alfred Eisenstaedt

From all the corners of the world, across all cultures and borders: this month we want to discover and celebrate the diversity of the human race.

Be it fashion, portrait, street, documentary or any other form of photography that tells the story of people, there are very little boundaries and we are open to all approaches.

Join the award and show us your best characters!


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

Submit Now