Friday, 6 March 2015

Interviews with the artists from "standing still": Sergiy Lebedynskyy

Mornin' all,

As part of "standing still" we've decided to ask Sergiy and Alexey some questions regarding their ideas about photography, views on contemporary Ukraine and the recent events that have dominated the country for the last 16 (or so) months. They were happy to indulge us and offer their thoughts.


Here is our brief conversation with Sergiy: 

Can you tell us a little about the photographic techniques that you use? 

I shoot with a Leica M6 and Olympus Pen D, I use b&w film, typically the cheapest I can find. And, of course, the darkroom is the most important part. For printing I take soviet photographic paper from the 80s and use lith developer. Lith printing on aged paper is unpredictable, you have a feeling that the time is working on every print with you. In the end you receive an archive-like looking print, which I call document. With this method, I make prints of what I photograph in Ukraine. The changes in the country are so rapid that what you photograph today is already history tomorrow. Therefore the method becomes a part of the concept. 

What does photography mean to you?  

Photography for me is the continuation of the personality. I put my statement and life’s position into it. It makes your work concrete and strong. 

How do you think Ukraine is perceived in the West and do you think it’s accurate? What aspects of Ukrainian life and culture would you like to show to people? 

The West is huge. All countries have lots of their own problems. It is very difficult to understand the situation from a distance, as there are lots of details which count. Mostly we are well understood only by countries which had to deal with soviet aggression in the past. Ukraine is a young country with a typical post-soviet syndrome which is looking for its place in the world. This decisive historical period I’m trying to interpret and show to others. 

What was your initial reaction to Euromaidan and hopes for its outcome?


I was very indignant after the sudden change of course of the government, after the bare lies. And I fully understood why students gathered at Maidan. What happened afterwards, made me speechless. We have seen such pictures only in Russia, when people were hit and taken into prison. It was such a shame, just a no-go. The first hope was that we’ll have a political solution, but Maidan has revealed all the problems Ukraine had.

Have events over the last year changed your relationship with Ukraine and how you see it? Do you think this has impacted on your photography or your art?


Last year showed me how many active, smart, hardworking people we have. I feel better now, Ukraine is not lost. Of course photography as part of my reaction became more rush, bold and expressive. I have more to tell and show, and I will. The importance of every opinion today is tremendous.



 A big thank you to Sergiy and this is a first for us, so we hope you found it enlightening.


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