Julie Poly

Photographer. Real name — Yulia Polyashchenko
Date of Birth: May 10th, 1986


Ukrzaliznytsia — 2017-2020
Ukrzaliznytsia is a photo project that was filmed during 2017–2019. Having experience of working as a train conductor, Julie Poly captures the very essence of travelling in Ukrainian trains. Provincial gigolos and leopard-clad ladies, rigorous businesswomen and young soldiers —  the project depicts certain types of Ukrainian passengers as well as stereotypes about them, with the boundaries between reality and fiction being completely erased. The project includes both: documentary and staged pictures.

The part of project was shown at Kyiv Central Railway Station (2018). The full Ukrzaliznytsia project is published as a book (2020), art directed by Ben Ditto (UK). The book is printed in 1000 copies. Each copy  is numbered and put in a package imitating the design of the Ukrzaliznytsia bedding. There is also a brochure with photographs from the exhibition at the Kyiv Central Railway Station.

My precious — 2015-2019
Symbol of wealth, high status — and family "treasure", stable capital investment for unstable times. Such associations cause gold teeth in those who found the 90th years in Ukraine. The sculpture of Julie Poly is a comment on love of the person to decoration of itself, from the other side — a monument to gold teeth, quite reliable source of confidence in tomorrow. The sculpture was presented within collaborative project of Ukrainian artists in TSUM.

Kis-brys-miau — 2015 / Kosmolot — 2019
Curiosity about the experiments with own sexuality can start manifesting itself from the early years of a person’s life. Through this new experience, a child or a teen gets to know himself, and learns about others. Often, the process of coming of age gets connected to the games — from innocent schoolish “kis-brys-miau” to a more revealing “spin the bottle” kissing game, or from playing the provocative strip cards as teenagers to BDSM sessions (swinger parties, fetish games etc.) in later years. Sexual kinks often remain hidden from the world, but the game allows to “reveal the cards”, and, by doing so, to satisfy the desires, push the boundaries of self-knowledge in a meanwhile.

The project was made in a format of a deck of playing cards. Pictures on the cards are the images from the artist’s archive, or screen shots of private messages. Limited deck of playing cards ‘Kosmolot’ was created in 2019 and  was supplemented by staged photos, and was presented in the slot machine network of the same name. The first version of the deck included 36 cards, and made its debut in 2015 under the title ‘Kis-brys-miau’  at the final exhibition of the School of Contemporary Art. The limited edition contains 54 cards and was released in amount of  10 decks. The project was also implemented in the format of an online game.

Ukrainian Beauty — 2018
Series of the three mini projects shot for Dazed Beauty, an experimental beauty web community established by Dazed & Confused magazine (UK). Each project muses on the particular visual codes of Ukrainian beauty ( artificial hair, wedding styles), and everyday reality of the local beauty industry (beauty salons, wig rentals). The mockumentary series got executed in a digital, somewhat raw way.

Kids — 2016
Balancing on the verge of art and fashion photography, this project is dedicated to coming of age in the Post-Soviet environment. In the center of the shoot are various subcultures and Ukrainian kids that represent them. The project was created for Vogue UA.



2012 - Today

A firm success in fashion helped Julie Poly to start her own art practice.
Years of fashion photography practice include such stages: 

  • 2018 - pictures from Kids series get into the book celebrating Vogue Ukraine 5 year anniversary.
  • From 2016 - works get published by key international media outlets (vogue.com, Dazed magazine, printed i-D, Jalouse, Alei Journal and others)
  • 2016 - starts working with Vogue UA (shots special art and fashion projects - Erotica, Kids)
  • З 2015 - starts working with major commercial clients in Ukraine (Sanahunt, Icon, Symbol shops etc.), and leading local designers (Elena Reva, Poustovit, Flow the Label etc.)
  • 2015 - commercial projects іn Barcelona
  • 2014 - commercial projects in Munich, worked for Apple Models
  • 2013 - starts working for l’Officiel Ukraine (made 6 covers)
  • 2013 - works at the New York Fashion Week
  • 2012 - works for Elite and IMG agencies in Milan


Visual Storytelling Masterclass, Amsterdam
Curators of the course: Jim Casper and Lars Boering.

Contemporary Art School, Kyiv
Curators of the course: Lada Nakonechna and Kateryna Viter. Attendance of the school resulted in a more conscious approach to the part practice.

Ukrainian State Academy of Railway Transport, Kharkiv
2003 - 2008
Higher education and her own experience of working as a train attendant inspired Julie to start her major Ukrzaliznytsia project.

Kharkiv School of Photography, Kharkiv
Studied at the photo school that is connected with a world-know art movement, also called Kharkiv School of Photography. Works of Boris Mihkailov, a famous Ukrainian photographer who spearheaded the Kharkiv School, had a major influence on Julie’s artistic formation.

Kyiv, Ukraine


Futurespective by Vogue UA (Kyiv, group show,  2021)

Sensitivity. Modern Ukrainian photography (Kyiv, group show,  2021)

Pink Exhibition (Kyiv, group show,  2020)

Futures Digital Festival 2020, RESET digital exhibition (Amsterdam, group show, 2020)

Ukrzaliznytsia Book (Kyiv, presentation,  2020)

LensCulture Discoveries 2019 (Paris Photo Off, group show at Galerie Joseph, 2019;
Emerging Talent Awards winner)

Futures at Unseen Amsterdam (group show, 2019)

Uglification (Kyiv, group show, 2019)

Kosmolot (Kyiv, personal, 2019)

Ukrzaliznytsia (Kyiv, personal, 2018)

5 years of Vogue UA (Kyiv, group, 2018)

Kyiv Photo Week (group, 2018)

We Will Not Meet Each Other Today (Kyiv, group, 2015)

No1 (Kharkiv, personal, 2013)

Zero Budget (Kharkiv, group, 2011)

Honest Female Portrait (Kharkiv, group, 2011)

Idol (Kharkiv, group, 2011)
Rails (Kharkiv, group, 2010)


LensCulture Emerging Talent Awards, winner (2019)

NG Unseen Talent Award, winner (2019)

Playboy Photo Awards, winner (2009)


2016 - charity project in the orphanage, Belgorod-Dnestrovsky. Executed together with Anton Belinskiy.