Critique

Portfolio: Anastasiya Rudenko

In the “Portfolio” feature, young photographers display their work and respond to editors’ questions. Russian photographer Anastasiya Rudenko is the subject of today’s feature.

In the “Portfolio” feature, Bird in Flight displays the photographs of young photographers working in various genres and asks them to discuss why they decided to work in photography, what tasks they set for themselves, why they study and with whom. Today’s issue features Anastasiya Rudenko’s portfolio.

Anastasiya Rudenko, age 32

Rudenko is a freelancer who lives in Vologda, Russia. She has a diploma in applied mathematics. Her work has been published in the British Journal of Photography, Russkiy Reportyor and other publications. She was the winner of the Young Photographers of Russia contest in 2012.

When did you begin doing photography?

Around 2008 I decided that I wanted to work as a photographer. I found an ad recruiting wedding photographers for 800 rubles per day. I responded because I didn’t have my own reflex camera and the firm offered their own. After that, everything changed quite quickly in my life. I was studying documentary photography by the next year.

What do you take photos of?

I am visual and it’s hard for me to describe in words what I shoot. I am taking photos at the moment because I want to say something with them. That’s why I usually answer: “I take photos of Russia.” I am interested in Russian identity and absurdity.

Why do you believe that photography is your calling?

I don’t claim that photography is my calling. Millions of people have cameras and are interested in photography. All of them have some basis to claim that photography is their endeavor. I am one person out of a million. I like distinct visual forms of art and I am a fan of images, static or moving, my own or others. I am trying things other than photographs, but at the current moment, photography is turning out better for me than other experiments.


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What in your view makes photos successful?

Work. Sometimes you spend a lot of effort or money in order to go somewhere and do something or other. You think of something, don’t sleep for nights, and nothing comes out of it as a result. But then I say that sooner or later, a reward will come for such work. In my experience, a good photograph is simple luck and chance. But that luck needs to be earned.

What difficulties do you come across as a photographer?

The biggest difficulty is beginning to shoot because I am entirely comfortable not shooting and simply imagining pictures or looking at other images.

What experiences interest you?

I am interested in all the diversity that a person’s mind can conjure. For inspiration, I look at photographs the least of all. I am moved by anything: films, musical compositions or a dance.

The list of people who inspire me changes constantly because I am changing. But there are those who are there for a long time, such as the photographer Boris Mikhailov and the documentary film director Sergei Loznitsa. I am interested in the flow of his thoughts and I always study his work with covetousness. Also directors, artists and creative people who know how to work not with the fictitious world, but with reality and absurdity that has a documentary foundation. For example, even the legendary “Nina” of the NOM group — that’s work with texts from real life and with recognizable imagery.

What do you shoot with?

I have many digital cameras but I mainly use the Fuji x100.

Do you earn money from photography?

Very rarely. I don’t want to ruin my relations with photographs and I often end up declining that which brings the main soure of wages in photography. I am referring to jobs, whether weddings or propaganda for various publications. On the other hand, it would be interesting for me to shoot fashion. In general, I am simply a failure and haven’t yet learned how to earn on photos. A happy person is someone who earns what they’re satisfied with and can be proud of it. That’s a utopia, but it’s one of my goals.


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What else interests you?

I do programming. I like all spheres in which you create something on your own, you’re your own boss and you decide for yourself whether or not you’re pleased with the result. There are many interesting professions in the world. The main thing is to do everything from your soul and for others.

What goals are you setting for yourself?

I wouldn’t say that I set goals. Usually, I set experiments. Either my goals are global or fuzzy. For example, I would be interested in reaching the point of shooting a fillm in 50-60 years with which I’d be satisfied with.

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