Girls Next Door in Mike Ivnitsky’s Portfolio
Why photographers are sometimes not better than boring office workers, why you need to photograph amateur models, and why you shouldn’t photograph people under twenty. In our Portfolio series, we present Israel-based photographer Mike Ivnitsky.
Mike Ivnitsky served in the Israeli army and went on to work at a factory. In a parallel life though, he is like a character from Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up surrounded by uninhibited beautiful naked women. Mike doesn’t like to plan photo shoots or work with professional models. His photographs often result from coincidence.
Was born in Russia, has lived in Israel since he was little. Works on a factory, takes photographs in his spare time.
— I started taking pictures when I was serving in the army. I toyed with a point-and-shoot camera, and then bought a simple DSLR camera. I like photographing girls next door, amateur models. They don’t have trained poses, and have this cool freshness and a certain vibe. Agencies often restrict their models and prohibit them from posing for pictures naked. That’s why many magazines take shoots with amateur models, despite their 157cm height and other irregularities. After that they are sometimes invited to shoot for advertising and in general they receive the same that the agencies are hunting for. With the difference that, unlike the agencies, they don’t need to share money with the magazines.
I most like it when I don’t plan anything, but a shoot happens on its own. For example, in a bar.
Personality and personal contact is important to me. I try to at least talk before the shoot. There were cases when I had language and cultural barrier (for example, in Tokyo or Tbilisi), but the professionalism of the models saved the day.
I sometimes do commercial shoots, but only if they align with my idea of beauty. There are sometimes brands that want what I like. I know a ton of photographers who do things that are boring or even unpleasant to them. And then they don’t have the energy for their own creative work, and they become as dull as office workers. I don’t see the point tin wasting doing something you love like that.
I sometimes sell prints to collectors, but I don’t like doing it either. When I see how people have half of their house full of dusty prints from exhibitions and unsold books and they are trying to squeeze them everywhere they can, I feel uneasy. All the things that you need to do in relation to this consume energy and replace photography itself, and this is very depressing.
When I see how people have half of their house full of dusty prints from exhibitions and unsold books and they are trying to squeeze them everywhere they can, I feel uneasy.
I would never take photographs of the underage, people who are visibly uncomfortable, or those who don’t know what they are doing. For this reason, I rarely shoot people who are under twenty.
It happened a couple of times that a person changed their mind after the shoot. It is not very pleasant, but I don’t try to convince them. I think it’s bad for karma. I let the models sift out the photographs that they don’t like, although they can change their mind afterwards anyway.
I try to surround myself with interesting people — this is the most important thing.