I got a chance to interview a Russian Photographer, who believes photography is a hyper link to the past moments. Though I started interviewing a passionate photographer, I ended up sharing thoughts with a passionate writer!
- How long have you been into photography?
I have been taking pictures since my childhood. I used to have a Soviet film camera “Smena”, and I remember quite well how I was playing in my grandparents’ yard, and a girl from the same house asked me to take a picture of her. My reply was: “Why should I spend film on you”, and I kept taking photos of the bench and puddles in the yard. That was in 1984; I was six.
- I have learned that you had a passion for photography from your childhood. There should be someone who had motivated and inspired you to follow your passion. Who is that?
My dad was taking pictures whenever and wherever we were going with our family: to the Black Sea, to the sanatorium, to our relatives to the Ukraine. He had a Soviet camera “FED-4”, but he didn’t let me “play” with it when I was a child.
I loved to watch pictures and photos in the books – so each time I came to my parents’ friends I picked the books I liked from the shelf and was enjoying the pictures, mainly nature.
Nobody actually motivated me to take photos; I was inspired to find in real life what I saw in the books.
- Are you the only one in your family who loves to capture beautiful moments in lenses?
In the days of my childhood, almost every Soviet family had a camera, took photos, developed them in the dark room (we did that with my dad in the bathroom). My uncle also took photos of his family. The purpose of photography in those days was to capture a “family snap”. I don’t know anyone except me who ignored taking pictures of people and preferred nature, flowers, etc. like me.
- Some of your snaps capture nature’s beauty, and some are random snaps of things ranging from clips to decorative items. In which genre do your photographs belong to?
One of my blog readers suggested that my style could be called “Haiku Photography”, then last year in September one lady told me that some of my pictures belong to “Contemplative Photography”. These are good titles but as all the names they set limits and boundaries.
One of the purposes I pursue in photography is to capture the moment which later I can use as a “hyperlink” – to look at that picture and say: “That moment was pretty cool”. Recent example: my cousin came from the States this year to visit us in Russia. That was in September. We spent a couple of hours in the cafe. I had some vodka, potatoes, and meat. And when I finished my meal I took a dozen of pictures of the fork in the sunlight with my phone from different angles. That was a sunny day; I was watching the leaves falling from the tree which was growing at the cafe window, so these snaps remind me of my high mood at that day. To go even further – that mood is a “hyperlink” to my state of mind and heart when I was a child.
- You have your own blog with almost 5000 followers. Do you think that digital media is the best way to market one’s talents?
I started my first blog in August 2009. Then I had different versions, domain names, etc. I used to have a blog on WordPress in 2013-2014, which had over 12 000 followers, but I deleted it. This one “Glitchy Artist” I started on August 2, 2015.
Yes, digital media does promote one’s skills, talents, etc. The other side of the coin is that on platforms like Tumblr, WordPress, etc. 90% of bloggers also try to promote themselves, so they should search audience from outside.
There are many photographers, writers and poets who have blogs on WordPress. The purpose of these writers is to promote their works, so other writers for them are just competitors, the same thing is with photographers. I am seriously thinking of expanding my audience through Facebook and LinkedIn.
I began writing texts in Russian with key words to make my blog to be found via search engines. Main topics are Rural Tourism in Russia, Russian Village, Trips to Russia, etc.
- Nowadays, anyone with a mobile phone can capture everything around them. Possession of a smart phone makes one a passionate photographer, the art of photography is diminishing. What is your opinion about the same?
I always viewed art as something auxiliary rather than independent. The purpose of the artists who painted portraits of kings and queens was to “capture” them. Nowadays every schoolgirl can take dozens of selfies. The purpose is the same. Of course, one might say that the paintings of the royal families are masterpieces. Maybe. For me, they are just boring pictures with sour faces. But some techniques are great.
Let’s switch to smart phones. I love the saying that the best camera is the one you have with you at the moment. If you want to market yourself, it depends on what pictures you take with your smart phone. If you do a travel blog, the quality of your smart phone is more than enough. I used to have two top camera phones: Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom and Nokia Lumia 1020. Both have immediate Internet access. But if you want your photos to be printed on canvas or in top magazines, you should have a decent DSLR camera.
Photography for me personally is capturing the moment I enjoyed. That’s it. The only exception is when I do reportage photography. Smart phones helped me many times.
One more thing. It depends on what you take pictures of. Everyone can take a photo of an icicle but not so many flew on hot-air balloons, helicopters. So, the one who had a chance to fly in a hot air balloon can boast with his/her unique photos. And if he did that in every season he has a cool portfolio. A photo of an icicle taken with Hasselblad camera can be very cool, but dozens of photos from the bird’s eye view taken with a camera phone will attract thousands of people. So the point is not about the camera but of the places where a photographer can have access to.
- Please share an unforgettable moment in your life which made you feel proud as a photographer.
I can’t recollect any specific moments. When I do reportage photography, I feel really lucky when I can make an interesting snapshot. I love to take photos of street cats, and when they pose for me, I am proud that they are willing to do that for me.
- According to you, what makes a snap elegant?
I think it’s a proper place and proper time. Luck – to put it short.
When I travelled last year in October through the Golden Ring of Russia, the weather was sunny and frosty. I took over 900 photos. If there were no sun, the pictures would have been only informative. But the ones I brought convey mood. Simple factor – weather.
- What is your favourite pass time other than taking pictures?
I love to spend much time outdoors going with my artist-friends to various places and watch them painting at plein air. I write sci-fi stories on occasion.
- Finally, please share your advice to those who prefer to follow their passion?
The tricky thing is that only within a certain period of life you may agree that what you do is your real passion. Photography is not my passion. I started taking photos like I did in my childhood after I started my blog in 2009. The ones which are on my current blog are being taken since 2011.
I love to write. That’s my passion. I was writing short stories and novels when I was 10-14 years old. I began to write again since 2008. So, photography is just a hobby; writing is my passion. Sounds strange for an interview on photography but true.