Critique

Portfolio: Victor Dyomin

In today’s portfolio — Ukrainian photographer Victor Dyomin who likes controversial situations on camera, well-organized chaos, and geometry.

Victor Dyomin Age 32

Ukrainian photographer, lives in Uzhgorod. Studied applied mathematics at Uzhgorod National University. Organizes Uzhgorod Techno Culture parties and photographs weddings, in his free time shoots what he likes.

— In 2004, I bought a Nokia 7250 phone that took digital photographs in 320×240 resolution. I took pictures of everything around me, including the craziest student parties. I was most amused when on the next day I showed the pictures to those who drank themselves to memory loss — it was funny to observe how they were really surprised. It was then that I realized that photography can tell stories and surprise.

I still take pictures of everything around me. I am interested by both simple things and complicated compositions with twisted relationship between the elements in the frame. I like controversial situations. I like the books by Dostoevsky and how he can create this incredible tension in a story. I think we can do the same in photography.

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I am a mathematician, and it influences my art: most of my photographs are ‘balanced.’ But I also like when life itself disrupts this balance by something unexpected and unpredictable, as life is much more interesting than any photographer’s plans. I am happy to greet any manifestations of life in my photographs, especially if I did not expect them to show up there. I call photos like this interesting. They attract with their unpredictability, and then don’t let you go with their organization — this is well-organized chaos.

I am happy to greet any manifestations of life in my photographs, especially if I did not expect them to show up there.
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I use a Canon 5D Mark3 and L lenses, I went back to the 24–70 zoom lens. Or EOS 30 film that is fully automatic. I like getting film photos without frying my nerves trying to set the customization. I don’t like getting into those things even on digital cameras. All I need from a camera — half-automatic with diaphragm priority and quick autofocus. Well, and ISO. And okay, aperture.

I like color photography, I like to make it work for me and my plans. But often to understand if a photo is good, I edit it to be black-and-white.

Often to understand if a photo is good, I edit it to be black-and-white.
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Photography for me is a search for people who think the same, with whom we have a similar understanding of delicate, and sometimes very delicate, matters. I have a close friend, the photographer and architect Mokform, at some point we have influenced each other’s art a lot. One time, after we’ve known each other for a while, we gave the same answer to the question that we both think is the most important one: “Why are you doing this?” “Because I can’t not do this.”

I am inspired by people, talking to people and observing them. I like books, Dostoevsky especially. The mountains — I live in Transcarpathia. Two years ago, I discovered Enduro bikes, and now I often go to the mountains on a bike with my friends, and after this getaways I feel much more inspired. Traveling in foreign countries — even the breathing is different abroad.

I earn a living with wedding photography, but I have enough time left for my own projects. I started taking pictures at weddings accidentally. One time, my acquaintance artist Ivan Nebesnyk and his girlfriend approached me and asked me to photograph their wedding however I wanted. The guests included artists, musicians, older photographers, sculptors, educators from various creative spheres. I was so overwhelmed there — the people were so interesting, and the wedding theme united them so much, that I got enough impressions to fall in love with this genre. “You were a good photographer before you started doing weddings,” Ivan says every time we meet. He doesn’t realize that he is to blame.

Ivan asked me to photograph his wedding however I wanted.
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I live in a town in Western Ukraine. Life here is slow, the embankments are beautiful, it is a multicultural town where everybody knows each other and everything is within reach at an arm’s length. You can, say, break away and be drinking coffee in Budapest in three hours. Or take a bike and take off for the mountains. I am inspired by traveling, but I am inspired by coming back to my hometown even more. I want to develop myself and contribute to my town’s development in all senses.

I like my life here, light and slow, taking photographs because I like doing it. And at the same time, I am always open to new trips, new people, and new shoots. Everything is possible, I don’t plan much ahead. If an interesting opportunity arises, I can move to a different place.

I think that a good photographer is a sincere photographer. What do you need to become one? Not lie to yourself or others, search, and love.

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