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PORTFOLIO

18.08.2015

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The Russian fashion and nude photographer's great inspiration comes from the sixties and seventies. With powerful, contrast-rich black and white images, he wants to create a counterpoint to the bright colours and excessive digital processing used today. You can find more pictures in LFI 6/2015.


You worked as a poet and composer, and also produced advertising campaigns for a long time: what finally led you to photography?

I was always interested in doing something creative, but my outings into poetry and music were just child's play. My work in advertising can be taken more seriously – I spent various years doing that, and I don't think it was a bad thing. I really like cinema a lot, and I know exactly how a professional digital producer works. I was really in my element and was able to talk with other digital producers on the same level. Unfortunately, Ukraine is not the best place for this kind of work; it's not enough to have good ideas if the budgets are too small. In this regard, photography was quite simply the most economical alternative to somehow apply my cinematic ambitions, and to accentuate my talent for light composition. I mean, at first I didn't see the photos as photos, but as frozen frames in a film.

What do you find so special about fashion photography in the sixties and seventies that is lacking today?

From a photographic perspective, the sixties and seventies were a great era. Photography was an art-form, not just a commercial consumable. However, I'm not trying to copy that photography, but to be inspired by the era, because fashion photography at the time was perfect. I'm serious. Of course, not everything in fashion photography today is commercial or shallow, but in my opinion most of it is. However, when I see Paolo Rosveri, for example, I think we may be at a turning point right now. I thought that everything was going down hill, but now I sometimes see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Your orientation towards the sixties and seventies is not only in the aesthetics; you also work with an analogue Leica M6, and when you're taking pictures with an M9 you try to convey the analogue approach to digital.

Most of the time, when I'm photographing with the M9 it's as though I'm working with the M6. I don't take a lot of pictures and I barely use the display. However, I must admit that the more I use the M9, the more I have the feeling that digital photography is as good as analogue. I believe my way of working will adapt to it. It's true, I still feel the urge to add graininess – but that's also gradually fading. What is important to me, however, is that the photos get printed, because it's not enough to just see pictures on a monitor.

You photograph with rangefinder cameras, which is rather unusual for fashion photography. Does the rangefinder play a big role in your work or is it more about the optics?

Don't ask me why, but a rangefinder is the only option for me, and it's important to me that a camera is perfect, both technically as well as in questions of design. I find this with my Leicas so why should I use anything else? Just because other fashion photographers use other formats? I'm satisfied, it's my choice, my vision, my style.

Next to fashion photography, nude photography is your favourite subject. Is your nude photography also oriented towards the sixties and seventies?

What I've said about fashion photography applies to nude photography as well. I'm also trying not to copy, but to be inspired, so as to discover new directions. That's also why I call my nude photography Fashion Nudes. It's not supposed to be provocative. I value combining my personal look with a woman's beauty. I would like to produce a magazine in this style, and I'm working on that.

Gennadiy Chernomashintsev

Born 1968 in Donetsk (USSR). Lives in Kiev (Ukraine) where he works as an Art Director and freelance fashion photographer for the magazine Domino. Publications in Monovisions, Black & White Photography, ND, Dodho, a. o.

www.chernomashintsev.wordpress.com
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