Уяви Україну – Маленькі та великі історії / Imagine Ukraine – Small and Big Stories
Fighters without Rules / Бійці без правил, 2000
The series Fighters without Rules consists of portraits of exhausted yet triumphant boxers made immediately after their fights. Nothing remains of the event, only the injures, and the dim light, a setting that does not lend itself to anything other than a snapshot of the drained hero. This series is an example of Bratkov's documentary photography, which lacks the irony of his staged pictures, but remains heavy and painfully sharp. As the title suggests, these boxers operate within the Russian world of illegal boxing, which is a world without rules. Bratkov takes the portraits from a certain distance, in order to capture the true emotion of the moment. The melancholy, bleak expressions of the boxers reflect some of the bleak social circumstances of post-soviet Russia.