Alexander, please tell us a little bit about yourself to begin with. (How old are you, Where were you born and where do you live now, What is your profession and do you have other besides photography?
I was born in Moscow 31 years ago, where I’ve lived my whole life. Living in such a fast and vibrant city like this brought to me the love for colors, lights and movement. I’m not saying my “school” wasn’t close to my home also… When I was young, I didn’t really pay attention to the future, was living my life. Today, I’m a freelancer, working with all sorts of events. However, I also have a regular evening job in Crocus City Hall.
Have you been involved in the arts in some form other than photography?
Well, I’m not perfect at drawing, sculpture or music. Creating new pieces using tools like camera is much more closer to me than clay or paint. In fact, owning to photography I’ve met a lot of really talented and interesting people. For example, now I’m working with a team producing new Russian series, selecting the cast and helping with some technical moments.
Your interest in my work was extremely surprising. It’s honestly a great pleasure. Nothing can inspire the artist more than curiosity about his inspirations and passion!
In the main, my inspiration comes from the bright surroundings, my city, people and nature. What can be more beautiful and inspiring than a life in a full swing? To find inspiration is easy, but to use it is not so.
Moreover, Flickr showed me a lot as well. To be honest, I was not really familiar with that application, so it took me time to get used to it. And I’m happy I did! It helped me to think more out of the box.
Could you share with us how you first became interested in photography?
6 years ago I took an old simple hand-held camera to my friends’ party and was asked to make some pictures of the event. Don’t even know why, but I took this task really serious. I thought that the quality was too bad and the light wasn’t good… I didn’t like the final result at all. But, I liked the scene and wanted to know more about photography secrets. I started to learn. Next time I wanted to make it perfect, to stop the moment. I never thought it would devour me so fast.
What equipment are you using now and with what did you get started? what is your favorite lens?
My first camera was Canon 60d with the 24-105/4 Lens. And how irritating it was that the picture you see with your eyes is completely different from what you see on a screen. I scanned many photo forums and all the shops when I got my Sony A850. This one was the best option for me! It gave me fresh clear colors. More than 2 years it was my one and only camera with Minolta 70-210 (Beercan) lens and after 70-200/2.8G, 24-70/2.8 CZ. After, I gave my preference to fixed lenses. I think they are more precise. My favorite one is Carl Zeiss sonnar 55/1.8 FE. Now I’m using А7+55/1.8. They are made for each other and for me!
Can you tell us about your work flow from the point until you showcase the developed picture?
It might sound obvious, but people who I’m working with are extremely important, they are the key to a good work. If we understand each other and enthusiastic to the work and the final piece, I jump into the project with passion right away. If there are other people like makeup artist, hair stylist… I have to introduce everyone. As if I miss any small detail it will reflect on the final work.
Do you see a particular influence, be it a photographer or school on your work? Any subject that attracts you?
I believe that to find your style any school won’t teach. I was learning by myself with only help of my eyes. Of course I have photographers whose work I appreciate. I only know their names from Flickr: Glen T photo, Rob Collins, Spyrosis. I appreciate different cultures. Work of Loïc Brohard I find really close to my views. Life light is much more interesting that artificial one.
I’m trying not to use Photoshop in my works, only when it’s needed. I feel that the work has to be done perfectly at the first place. Let’s remember works of different photographers form the past, when there was an option of only black&white film. Of course there were some tips, but most of the important action happens in a moment.
As I’ve said before, I’m trying to use mostly life lighting. It doesn’t have to be sun, might be a streetlight, something you are not in control of. So in the main, It’s only me, my model and the camera.
Among your works, which is your favorite and why?
My favorite works are those, which other people like. If I touched the feelings of other person, it means the works has a meaning. That’s what I love about art.
Tell us your funniest or most awkward photography story.
One time, before falling asleep, I made a post in “V Kontakte”, looking for a model. In the morning I received many replies. I stopped my choice at a really pretty model and we decided to meet at around 5-6 p.m. Unfortunately (at that moment), she came late and it was already dark outside. However, she was so beautiful, I decided to try to make a couple of photos. In 30-40 min I’ve made one of my best and difficult works out of the whole portfolio!
What would you tell a newcomer who asks for your advice on how to start?
My advice is simple, but useful. Be really accurate in a choice of the tool you are going to work with! Learn to see the whole scene in your head, first and give your imagination a life. And look not just for beautiful, but interesting models, which will inspire you even more. Don’t try to make 10 000 snaps and choose 10, but make 100 and choose 20!! Be careful with time spent on a computer, care about your eyes, and use less Photoshop. Photo is what’s going to be left after you! Fall in love with photography.