Creating a world that one cannot but feel privileged to have a peek into is what Oleg Oprisco does for a living. A fine art photographer based in Kiev, Ukraine, he uses vintage medium format cameras and works exclusively with film.
I spoke to Oleg about life, art and the mysterious ways in which inspiration works:
In one of your interviews you mentioned that originality is the only way to succeed. How do you manage to remain true to yourself and your vision?
This is the most difficult question. I’m sure that it’s important to trust your instincts. In the past, once I had the concept of a photo shoot, I used to Google similar images (using key words, etc), just so that I didn’t repeat it. Then I realized it’s pointless… We cannot just ignore the world around us and not look at anything. We have thousands of soundtracks, snapshots, videos and images in our minds. It’s like a giant mixer. Our task is to learn how to control this, and add our own notes, our own colors. We have to learn to create our own soundtracks.
What would you recommend to young and up-coming artists who feel that if they don’t follow the fashion trends and the requests of the client, they won’t be able to stay afloat?
You need to create, and then create some more. Create images and show them to everybody, everyone you know. If you have access to the internet, then you have every opportunity to tell the world about your work.
Your photographs are always complete stories, separate from one another. Have you ever wanted to make a series of images that would have a common theme or characters?
I’m sure that the more pictures there are in a project, the less the viewer really concentrates on each one of them. There are many photographic series, but few truly outstanding shots.
You often mention how important it is for you to thoroughly control everything during a photo shoot. How do you find common ground with your makeup artist, or the wardrobe stylist? Have you ever been in a situation where someone else involved in the process wanted to dictate the rules?
I’ve found it ideal to do everything myself. I come up with a concept, create the clothing, choose the location and control the makeup situation.
They say that inspiration is a muscle that needs to be exercised. Do you agree?
The main source of inspiration is our life, and yes, it’s really helpful to be constantly searching for ideas and generating them.
You mentioned that you create your own props and decorations for your photoshoots. Have you ever had to learn anything new to do that?
There is always something with the Styrofoam. I’ve used it in many images, but it really has a mind of its own (it won’t attach to glue or tape). I hate it! But there wasn’t anything I could do about it up until 3D printers became accessible.
Nowadays it often feels that success comes to those who shout about themselves the longest and the loudest, and not to those who are actually talented. You often strike the importance of earning a living through art for the artist to actually continue to create. You’re an exceptionally private person, for example, you don’t have a blog about yourself and your photographic activities. How do you balance making art and achieving sales?
If the blog generated any money, I would definitely tell all… It’s all much simpler. I do what I love, I create images I love, and nobody interferes. I don’t do commissioned work, I don’t shoot weddings or parties. Trust me, if a high quality product becomes available, there will be people who will want to buy or sell it. It’s the law of the market.
How would you define ‘good art’?
I daresay it’s the kind that surprises. You shouldn’t make art for the shock value, or in order to be liked. It’s important to create something new, something yet unseen.
This post was by Tanya Kuznetsova. Tanya is a contemporary vintage portrait photographer, based in London. When not behind the camera, Tanya channels her creativity into botanical perfumery and artisan soap making for Ravenscourt Apothecary. She is yogi, vegan, and a lover of all things weird and wonderful. You can see more of her work on her website tanyakuznetsova.com.