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The Unexpected Photography of Renee Altrov

Looking at a photo's caption, you see “Photo: Renee Altrov.” If you pursue Estonian news through arts and culture, politics, brands, or virtually any high-profile individual in Estonia, you'll likely have seen his work.

Photo by Renee Altrov

Renee Altrov's photos have become a staple for any media content that needs a visual aide to bring it to life.

Altrov has photographed individuals and clients from MyFitness gym company and scientists at the Estonian Genome Center to Archbishop Urmas Viilma, Põhjala Brewery, and the album art for Lexsoul Dancemachine's Deus Lex Machina.

One can identify his photos by their crispness and, in quite a few instances, disquietude. I say “disquietude” because there's a sense of unease in his photos, a sense that something must be done by the subject, or something is at the precipice of happening to the subject. They're not what you would call comfortable photographs.

He cultivates this by placing each subject in a setting or scenery that contrasts with where you would expect the subject to be. For instance, a portrait of AS Sokotel Managing Director, Anu Soosaar. Instead of focusing on a classy lobby space or the curated design of...

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