Bird in Flight Prize ‘21 Special Nomination Winner: V Project
During a week, readers took part in the open voting for the best project in the special nomination Readers’ Choice Award. 1,447 people took part in the open voting. As a result, Bogdan Gulyay’s series received the largest number of votes. The prize of the nomination is 500 euros.
Bogdan Gulyay, Ukraine
I have long thought that portrait photography is, to some extent, the exploitation of the person being photographed. The author solves his artistic tasks with the help of others, sometimes creating uncomfortable conditions for them – for example, inventing an awkward pose or seeking a specific reaction from the model. A further selection of shots is also determined by the photographer, honing the original author’s idea. Needless to say, all the glory, if any happens, also goes to the photographer. The model would get perhaps some of its splashes and, at the best, good photos. At a first glance, it may seem that in the “author-model” hierarchy, the photographer always comes first. Although this is not the case, everyone just does their job.
In fact, many of the portrayed want to be photographed, have a good time during the shooting, and are grateful to the photographer for the work, appreciate the result and boast of the photos in public. That’s why the above-mentioned exploitative nature of the photo portrait has never bothered me too much, and I face my models with a clear conscience. Besides, I never considered myself better than another person just because I took a picture of them.
For a long time, I took portraits of people at their homes, nude and in an intimate setting, and finally, I wondered if I should try myself as a subject of the shooting. I decided to change the rules of the game by putting myself in the conditions in which a portrayed person was a few minutes ago, and therefore to get closer to his or her feelings. And if my models are naked in the picture, then I have to take off my clothes myself – it will be fair. At the end of each photoshoot, I began to appear in the frame next to those I was shooting, together inventing surreal, absurd or just funny images for us.
Thus about two years ago a separate series of works emerged from the project “Unaccomplished Studies on Ukrainian Erotic”, telling about the author himself, creating the image of a cheerful photographer. He is open to experimentation and behaves freely with the image of his own “self”, using himself as a subject on a par with others.