Overtime, 2021


Margo Ovcharenko’s latest series Overtime portrays a tight community of a women's soccer team based in Moscow’s suburbs. For four years she followed their daily life, capturing what the players saw themselves: from their routine training to their leisure, romantic endeavours and the neighbourhood itself. The series unfolds through a series of portraits where the gazes are intense, some directed outside of a frame and some are aimed at the viewer but never disconnected or bored. In these portraits Margo strives to change the perception of female beauty by showing queerness and toughness of her subjects. She helps her viewers to grasp how Russian society pushes athletes outside of its mainstream scope by ostracizing them for their gender and sexuality's expressions. Margo's project is a complex and poetic diary that deals with stereotypes of queerness in women team sports set up against a harsh background of a working class suburbia in a homophobic society.

The women have a relationship to the space where they are pictured, rooted in their surroundings in the way that suggests deep familiarity and mimicry. Margo incorporates photographs of Chertanovo’s neighbourhood to set up a socio-economical context for her subjects but also uses it as metaphorical meaning for players’ emotions, especially in images of elements. Water, fire, air and earth mirror players' attitude and enhance coherence in which footballers coexist with their surroundings. There are images of the city that take double meaning: the pond that looks like a football field shielded by the trees or celebratory fireworks that look threatening to the residential building beneath.

Throughout her project Margo shows duality that comes with being a female soccer player such as being in a sisterhood and but also being isolated as a professional athlete; having  extremely powerful bodies that can easily injure; being on top in their field but also underpaid and under-appreciated by the general public. And of course the femininity of their appearance that freely traverses into masculinity and back.