Wednesday 11 March 2015

Interviews with the artists from "standing still": Alexey Ostrovskiy


Here is the second part of the "standing still" interviews - today Alexey Ostrovskiy shares his thoughts on photography and Ukraine. Enjoy!

Tell us a little about the photographic techniques you use.

I have very cheap equipment. As you know, I am doing my shots using a homemade camera, 18 by 13cm, and photograph exclusively on photographic paper. I love working with photo paper so that I can watch the process of developing; it gives extra flavour to the creative process. Besides expired paper can be cheap enough to buy. Traditionally, I use modified lenses from 35mm film cameras, with a few exceptions. I sometimes use an ordinary magnifying glass and "ortagoz"*.

*an old Russian lens made by GOMZ 

What does photography mean to you?

Mainly the process. I like the mood that I get into when I mess around with my camera. It is much more complicated than when photographing with a digital camera - in the viewfinder the image is flipped, for long exposures the exposure is calculated intuitively by eye, when a picture is shot it also needs to be processed in a darkroom, and the camera itself is quite heavy to handle. Thus photographing turns into a kind of ritual, and this will inevitably be reflected in the photographs themselves.

Do you think that Ukraine is understood by the West?

This question is difficult to answer, any answer will say more about my attitude. Of course I want to believe that Ukraine is understood beyond its borders, that we live in a humane world based on mutual understanding and cooperation. But I think Ukraine is too silent and quiet, maybe even expressionless, if I may say so. Time flows slowly here.

What aspects of Ukrainian life and culture would you like to show to people?

I’d like to focus on the role of the irrational in the life of Ukraine, on what is called cardiocentrism. I think Ukrainians are prone to melancholy, contemplation and self-reflection. 

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

I didn’t resent the decision of Yanukovych to delay the signing of the documents as much as his reaction to the demands of Maidan, to the events that occurred there. That’s  why I supported the Maidan to a certain extent. But this year we had a lot of unpleasant things to learn. Something that had always been with us, and we didn't notice or did not want to see.

Do you think this has influenced your photography or your art?

Not affected directly. At least on a mental level these areas do not overlap in any way.

Thank you Alexey!

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