Where are you from? Where did you go to school?
Hi, my name is Alexander, I live in Russia. I work as a graphic designer
for a magazine, although I have a degree in Psychology. When I was a kid I
was told that I had an ear for music and a talent for drawing. However it
was my sister, not me, who was sent to a music school. I neglected drawing,
too. I would draw in class and often most of the students were interested
in what I was drawing, not in what the teachers were saying, but I never
got an art education. I'm a self-taught photographer, I have learned from
works of others. I studied graphic design and color correction by myself
too, unprofessional though it is. I just love what I do.
2. How did you get into photography?
Once I installed on my desktop a wallpaper with a well known altered logo
"intel inside" - "evil inside". But before long I got bored with it and
pasted into it an image of my favorite CD cover. Then I added one more pic,
then another and another one - and it became a big and complicated collage,
not a very good one, but it was the beginning. For about a year I had been
making collages using others' photos and drawings, gradually improving my
skills. Then I came to the idea of making my own works and bought my first
simple camera. New opportunities opened for me, I was able to design music
CD covers and print big images. I started using Phtoshop less frequently
and fully gave up making collages, but devoted myself entirely to
3. How do you choose your locations? Do you happen upon them by chance
or do you do any exploring?
Once I needed a gas-mask for a photo session. I found it at an abandoned
plant. That place impressed me a lot, and ever since then I'm kin on
unusual places: abandoned factories, industrial zones, quarries, caves,
historic buildings as there are a lot of them in Russia. I used many of
them for photo sessions. Usually when I look for a place for shooting, I
already have some idea of what I want. But sometimes I just look for
beautiful out-of-the-way places.
4. Your selection of models, styling and scenery is impeccable. Are
these shots primarily for fashion clients or are they purely artistic?
I hardly ever make a la cart photos, I shoot primarily for myself. What I
do is an art first of all, it's the way I express myself. All my models
are common people, not professionals, many of them are my friends. I try
to make my photos to express both my ideas and the inner world of my
5. Do you shoot with primarily digital or film? What kind of gear do
you use? Explain your process.
I shoot mostly with digital camera because of it's efficiency and
simplicity. Yes, my choice is digital, definitely, although digital shots
without computer correction are withered and inexpressive comparing to
film ones. Digital camera allows me to experiment and to learn from my
mistakes. But sometimes I shoot with a film one, color or black-and-white.
I bought old film and an old camera, and the shots look like they've been
made in 1970. I tried to develop films myself, but the process appeared to
be very simple and not interesting.
I had a dream of designing CD of my favorite musicians. Well, one day I
got in contact with them. Now my dreams have come true, I've already
designed several album covers, tales and films. Now I work as a graphical
designer - It's almost what I dreamed about.
6. How much of your photography is story-telling? I feel like there's a
story begging to be told behind every photo.
I assess my works critically. They aren't perfect and I'm trying to
improve them by making them express some interesting idea. Even though the
pictures are voiceless, they still can tell us a lot visually. They can
slightly open us a door to someone's life or relate a complete story.
7. Where do you see your photography and art going in the next couple
of years? What are some of your artistic hopes?
I don't think much about it. I love shooting and can't imagine my life
without it, so I'll move in this direction, perfect my skills. Maybe one
day I'll get bored of what I do and I'll try something else - we'll see.
It's in fortune's hand.
by James Acklin