a Russian-born, Europe-based photographer… oh wow, a photographer! Still seems weird to be working in this field, since it has never been among top job choices. Although fate seemed to have a different opinion: my grandmother and her sister are photographers, and the one thing I could always effortlessly do was take a well-balanced nicely framed picture. But what comes easy is never valued, so for my first university degree I chose PR, and, because of my job as a radio presenter, I decided to get a second BA in Media Communications, focusing on radio production.
That’s how I found myself in Webster University, Geneva, where my advisor offered to take a black-and-white photography class because there were no radio classes that semester. Thinking that would be an easy “A” and needing credits anyway, I agreed. But the course turned out to be far from easy (and ended up far from an “A”)!
Wow, that was a challenge. I got hooked from the very first roll of ruined film. Analog photography had everything: the mystery, the magic, the unpredictability, the need for concentration and hard work. And, of course, that excited feeling you get when actually TOUCHING your images – real and surreal at the same time! My touchy-feely nature was overjoyed, and even more so when medium format cameras came into my life: less shots available (12 max), bigger film. My cameras and I became inseparable.
The epitome of happiness, discovery of large format, happened in 2012. One shot at a time. Enormous negatives. The slowest photography process EVER, which felt euphoric.
You would think that’s when I immersed myself into photography and embraced what I love doing most? Ha! I focused on Marketing studies After all, “photography is not serious” and “everyone is doing it”. So I had to go over quite a few stereotypes before admitting to myself how much I actually love my hard-to-use cameras, how happy I feel from the smell of chemicals, how my heart skips a beat when I turn on the light to see how the prints or negatives came out…
I love darkroom printing beyond words, the joy of selecting the size and type of paper on which an image looks its best, the finding of perfect contrast and exposure time, the playing around with dodging/burning, then carefully processing, washing, drying, retouching and putting under a beautiful mat board…
Photography is not just about the outcome, but the process, the time, love and magic behind every picture. I put my whole heart into every single shot and can only hope it shows.
And the most important lesson I learned? Sometimes the love of your life is there from the start, you just have to pay attention to the obvious!
|Photographers||Ansel Adams, Martin Parr, William Klein|
|Artists||Alphonse Mucha, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Gustav Klimt, Andy Warhol, Pavel Filonov, Vassily Kandinsky, Umberto Bocchioni|
|Aesthetics||Eighties fashion, pop-art, constructivism|
|Architecture||Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Brutalism|
|Authors||Douglas Coupland, Tibor Fischer, David Foster Wallace, Marshall McLuhan|
|Music||Aerosmith, Metallica, Guns’n’Roses (and Slash on his own), Ozzy Osbourne, Steve Morse, Joe Satriani, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tchaikovsky|
|Hobbies||Oil painting, serigraphy… and digital photography|
|Places||Caucasus region, Istanbul, and anywhere with mountains|