First of all, I’m interested in the photography itself. Certainly, its emergence in the 19th century largely predetermined the development of communication capabilities of mankind, what in its turn affected all spheres of society. For today, photography has overcome the path of almost 2 century and continues to develop actively, improving its language, expanding the set of tools. Its technical capabilities are amazing, they are virtually limitless; it exists in the analog and digital world. But photography as a phenomenon is still poorly studied. It has not yet passed the delight from the first image production; humanity is experiencing it again and again. This distracts from a deeper study of photography, its possibilities of dissecting reality, interpretation, from the ability to push the boundaries and compress space.
Working on specific projects, focusing on a specific topic, I never stop looking for new opportunities that photography can offer me, never stop at a once understood and accessible solution. I try to find a new solution for each new topic, a new interpretation that allows me to go beyond the already known moves. Search, luck, failure, analysis – this is the work that is the most interesting and important for me today, I hope that not only for me…
In my work I use different techniques and technologies: analog, digital and their combinations. I would like to focus on the analog technique for two reasons: the first is connected with another increase in interest in film photography among people who are somehow involved in the world of photography; and the second is that my work consists half of the projects created with authentic technologies. I spent many hours in the dark room and used up a large amount of photographic material studying the analog processes of image acquisition, this work was worth it. The fruits of this work are the knowledge and experience that allow me today to control, to manage the photographic plasticity of the image from the moment of shooting, developing the film and ending with printing the finished image in the dark room. It also gave an understanding of when and for what themes to use authentic technology, and when – digital.
I mentioned the theme. The theme, the story – where does it come from. For me, I believe, as for many other authors, this is something that excites, touches, what I want to say. To date the main theme for me is “the human”. It sounds quite broad, if to concretize – his inner experiences, fears, conflicts. Almost all series are about my experiences, conflicts, reflections. My inner world, its collision with the outside world generates conflicts and drama, which become the basis for my projects. I believe that it is impossible to solve any problems at the level of humanity without dealing with their inner demons. Photography for me is like psychotherapy. I rarely go beyond my own “ego”; these are exceptional cases when I can speak on behalf of another person. This is possible only when the level of empathy is so high that you feel the experiences of another person and are involuntarily immersed in them. It was so with the series “The requiem”, a series about my grandmother, her experiences, her suffering caused by the split of her reality because of the collapse of the entire system of values due to the political turmoil of the 90s in Russia. She had never been able to reconcile herself to the new world, which was alien to her in spirit. And it affected not only her, but entire generations. For me, my grandmother had always been a close, dear person, I saw her experiences, her conflict with reality, at some point I began to feel it all, and the experiences of another person to some extent became mine, and eventually this project was born. But again, this is a rare case, as it’s hard and devastating for yourself to truly empathize with another person.
Working with my inner world, pulling it out, I wonder if it can be interesting to anyone but me. At the moment, I think so. From my own experience I know that most people ask the same questions. But the truth is that not all are prepared be 100% honest with themselves and to extricate on light the most bright and dark what is inside of them and to flaunt it.
It is difficult for me to say at what point it became the main theme of my work, but not the last role in this was played by training at the University of Culture and Arts in the Studio of Yuri Babich, a great photographer and teacher. Classes on his course gave me an understanding of what photography is and helped to be formed as an author.
Among my teachers, I would boldly name Tarkovsky and Bergman, the two Directors who are closest to me. Their work always inspires me, every time I review their films, I discover something new. The psychologism of their characters, the depth of penetration into a person – this is what I would like to see in my works.
I have a project dedicated to Bergman, I was lucky enough to visit Sweden, Fårö Island, where Bergman spent the last years of his life. I travel to the places where he shot his films, tried to look through his eyes. It is difficult for me to estimate how convincing the project turned out, I think, it turned out to be my reflection on his creativity, empathy, tribute to his heritage.
Very often I notice that starting a project you have some plan and confidence but in the process of work you lose confidence, and the plan goes to hell. And then, being sure that you have a map where to move, you suddenly find yourself completely alone, in the dark, not having the slightest idea where to move. I would call it the moment of truth, there are two outcomes: suddenly a light flickers in the distance, and you slowly begin to move; or nothing happens, and then there is only one thing left, to leave the theme, it means – the time for it has not come yet.
It happens that the project develops easily and quickly, but this happens only when you have repeatedly approached this theme. So, the series “The Newly Testament” developed very quickly, it was a kind of continuation of the series “Requiem”. Here, as it seems to me, it is necessary to focus attention on a very important point – the perception of a person. It depends on his inner world, which consists of cultural, religious, social identity. For me, photography and psychology are closely linked. The artist, his work are greatly influenced by the place of birth, culture, events, witness and participant of which he becomes. I saw the collapse of the Empire, the fall of values, the collapse of human destinies, pain, suffering, the birth of a new Empire. I do not assess these events now, it is not important; it is important what impact they had on me as a person, my inner world, my awareness of reality. And what reflection they found in my work. The artist, creating a project, voicing the theme, speaking metaphorically, lights a beacon, makes others pay attention to the problem, discuss it, encourage everyone to look inside themselves.