❓Who or what influenced your art style the most at the beginning of your journey?
🗣 As a visual artist, I am most sensitive to visual information. Therefore, any visual images are the biggest and most important source of inspiration for me. I follow many foreign photographers, analyzing their approach to shooting, lighting, and processing. However, any visual experience is an image that we put into our subconscious. At the moment of creating an idea, we take all the previously seen images, mix them, and create a picture like a puzzle.
· From Steve McCurry, we borrowed an amazing side light that creates hyper-volume on the subject's face. In the movie "Blade Runner 2049," we saw a color palette in warm orange tones. We took an image for a model from the December issue of Vogue and as a result, we had a collaboration from what we had seen before.
· But how do ideas come about? And how to generate them? For me personally, there is one answer - music. It is enough to close my eyes, turn on abstract hip-hop, or super-emotional emo-core, and it will manifest itself immediately. I'm sure everyone has the directions of music that will be catalysts for them.
❓How did you start your professional career?
🗣 Many factors led me to photography. From hobbies to chance acquaintances. From upbringing to education. I was born in Samara. I grew up shy and very modest, loved math since childhood. I graduated from the Samara State Technical University in applied mathematics and computer science, and spent 3 years in graduate school. It all came down to the fact that I had to defend my candidacy and go into science, but something went wrong.
· As a schoolboy, I fell in love with programming, and my environment, my friends, gave me confidence in choosing a direction. At the same time, as a curious teenager, I poked at the family Olympus mju 400 soap dish, trying to capture sparrows and other animals in a 4-megapixel frame. Later, a more advanced Olympus appeared in the family, of course, not a SLR, but still with the ability to manually adjust the exposure, and that's when everything started spinning.
· Once, I came across an interesting project - a 3D panorama. And I realized that this technology combines two of my favorite hobbies: photography and programming. I will not talk about the path of becoming and hundreds of hours spent studying manuals and documentation, learning the language. I became one of the pioneers of art-authoring of virtual tours in Samara, which allowed me to monetize this well. I fulfilled orders for creating virtual tours for the largest developer companies, and everything was great. But in 2010, I was stung by the bee of portrait photography and gradually but steadily began to change the priorities of my activity. I started taking portraits.
❓What software and hardware do you use, and why?
🗣 I use the classic set: Photoshop with RAW processing through CameraRAW and occasionally Lightroom. I have quite complex portrait retouching algorithms. I do light and color correction in Photoshop as well. This way, I can get the widest dynamic range possible, which always looks great in a series of photos, even if they were taken in different locations with different lighting.
❓What do you think is the best way to work for you: full-time, freelance, part-time, and why?
🗣 Portrait photography is a difficult art to master, with too many unknowns. There is no programming or precise algorithms; you have to act on instinct, feel the moment, solve an infinite number of equations at once, improvise, and fantasize. Learning photography in the provinces is a slow process. Many aspiring photographers stop developing after learning the basics and enjoying the easy money from Russian weddings. They turn into stamp machines. I never put money as a priority since I made a living from virtual tours, and portrait photography was just a hobby. This strategy probably became the key factor in my development. I could create what I wanted without holding myself back. It was my inspiration.
Neo-hyperrealistic genre portrait is what I call my photography, or simply embryos. I invented this style in 2014. The camera hovers above the model, the location, and the scene, providing the viewer with a different point of view. The integrated abstract idea makes people stop and look at the photo. Most of my favorite abstract art portraits were created between 2014 and 2017. Later, I shifted to classic feminine portraits. I take fewer embryos now, but I still have the desire to raise the camera and take a photo from a "zenith" viewpoint.
❓What was your most challenging project, and why?
🗣 I love life and try to love myself. Therefore, I rarely challenge myself. All my photography is a pleasure, and I can't think of anything super challenging right now. Although... a couple of years ago, I shot the World Cup, where I had to take reportage photos non-stop for a long time. It was challenging but wildly interesting!
❓What was your most significant learning experience, and how does it help you now?
🗣 Definitely retouching. Of course, knowledge of light and composition is important, but portrait retouching is the most important skill on my list. By the way, I started retouching photos long before I started studying photography. I worked as a designer-layout designer's assistant in one of the glossy magazines when I was 16, and they taught me a lot there.
❓What is your dream project or art direction that you're starving to try?
🗣 A dream project, maybe. But since I don't like to hold myself back with certain deadlines, it's hard to call it a project. I want to visit 100 countries and take feminine portraits in each country.
❓Can you tell us about a personal or professional project you are proud of?
🗣 Definitely the project in collaboration with VK (social network) and the Committee for Culture of St. Petersburg. We create virtual tours of the city's museums. Here is an example of a tour of St. Isaac's Cathedral: https://vk.com/spb360tours
❓If you had just one question about anything that you could ask and get an answer, what would it be?
🗣 If it's about personal gain, then my question would be "Which company should I invest in to become wealthy in 10 years?" But if it's not about personal gain, my question would be "How can we harness the power of gravity and travel faster than the speed of light?"