When Ukrainian photographer Ruslan Lobanov did his first shootings in 2010 at a new location, an old castle in France, he wasn’t sure if he would work there again. Over the next eight years, however, he repeated the trip nine times, took thousands of pictures and combined them in his new book “Chateau.”

Lobanov says that the book gives the warm summer feeling depicted in Paolo Sorrentino’s films. He compares it to the sweet French wine Sauternes.

“You can’t drink much of it but you want to get back to it every day,” Lobanov told the Kyiv Post.

The book’s name is the French word for “castle.” It imitates a photo album of the castle’s imaginative residents and service staff living in 1950–1970.

The heavy 184-page “Chateau” has a preamble in Russian and English, which explains the story behind the book, features 120 erotic photographs and costs $140.


It will come out in 700 copies hitting bookstores on Dec.1, yet it is also available for pre-order now.

Lobanov has been involved in erotic photography for over 13 years shooting erotic stories all over the globe. He annually creates calendars with his pictures and has released two books — “Nudes in the City” and “The Wrong Door.”

While the first one focused on characters and the second one on the complicated plot, in “Chateau,” the location made the starting point.

Ukrainian photographer Ruslan Lobanov shows his new erotic photography book “Chateau” to the Kyiv Post during an interview on Oct. 31, 2018, at London Coffee House in Kyiv. (Oleg Petrasiuk)

Lobanov says that he always knew that he would make a product out of multiple pictures taken in the castle, however, it wasn’t until last year before he came up with an idea of what exactly it would be. He says that while wandering around the building, he came across the old photo album with pictures of the castle’s former residents and decided that it was a perfect concept for him, as his long-term project depicted how the castle and the models changed over time, just the way a photo album does.

The photographer says that over the years the castle became a beloved place for him.


“This is partly a photo album of all these trips for me.”

“Chateau” has a couple of thoughtful touches: its endpapers replicate the design of wallpapers of one of the castle’s rooms and its first page is wrapped in a parchment paper sheet giving a taste of an old-fashioned photo album.

Main character

The castle that riveted Lobanov’s attention in 2010 and became the main character of “Chateau” is an about 200-year old building located near Angers, a city in western France.

The castle’s owner is the U.S. citizen that lives in the United States and leases the castle.

For photo shootings, Lobanov rented the building for a couple of weeks, brought his crew, models, and props — they lived and worked at the large territory of a two-story castle with a garden. And the photographer says that they never used all the space.

“It’s a perfect case for me when I have more than I can master.”

Ukrainian photographer Ruslan Lobanov took over 6,000 erotic photographs at the multiple photo shootings at a castle in western France. He combined the photo collection in his new book “Chateau.” (Oleg Petrasiuk)

Lobanov says that what he liked about the castle the most was its authenticity. He says that unlike new hotels with classical design that look perfect, the castle had small flaws — it’s floor was a little dilapidated, some paint was peeling off and some textile was burned out.


“This is the beauty in imperfection,” he says.

And the castle’s surroundings played an important role in Lobanov’s decision to dedicate the whole book to the place — its enormous garden with large trimmed bushes of various forms, rosarium, all kinds of flowers and two ponds with water lilies are all captured in “Chateau.”

Lobanov says that some of his friends and colleagues didn’t understand his desire to come back to the castle over and over again but he fends off saying he “loves digging deeper.”

Concept and details

“Chateau” is made in Lobanov’s signature style — the photos are thoughtfully staged, they feature many female models dressed in classical clothing or partially dressed or undressed.

Lobanov says that he finds both female and male bodies beautiful, however, the female one is his “sharp instrument.”

The book combines single-picture stories and diptychs, which focus on the life of the castle’s residents and its service staff: a male servant washes a female resident, while she’s taking a bath, a resident seduces the castle’s visitor in the garden.

Taken with a film camera, most of the book’s photos are black and white shots recapturing hot airless summer days.

The new erotic photography book “Chateau” of Ukrainian photographer Ruslan Lobanov is made in his signature style featuring many female models. (Oleg Petrasiuk)

The photos, as many of Lobanov’s works, feature numerous telling details — not only vintage clothing and accessories but also retro cars and double bicycles, a rotary dial telephone and binoculars.


One of the cars on Lobanov’s photos is the silver cabriolet Citroën DS filmed in the “By the Sea” drama starring the U.S. actress Angelina Jolie and actor Brad Pitt.

And the French hunting binoculars for the story of a character practicing voyeurism, the photographer bought from a hunter in Ukraine.

Lobanov believes that a photobook is not a set of photos connected by one theme. He says that he creates plots and stories for his books because it gives his photos additional lives — they are more complicated and intriguing and, therefore, his fans get back to them multiple times.

“A printed product is a journey through the pages. A story gives a much greater variability of this journey,” Lobanov says.

Although “Chateau” sums up his multiple shootings in the castle in western France, Lobanov says he’s sure he will come back there.

“I can say that we shot everything (in the castle) hundreds of times, but this is not true.”

Pre-order Ruslan Lobanov’s book “Chateau” for $140 online through the website www.ruslanlobanov.com. Purchase the book starting Dec. 1 on the website or at One Love Coffee cafe (100 Velyka Vasylkivska St.) 

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